King County releases latest numbers on employee vaccination rates post-mandate
King County released the latest numbers on employee vaccination rates Thursday.
A county worker COVID vaccine mandate kicked in on Oct. 18, as did an identical mandate for state and Seattle city employees. Two days after it took effect, King County reported that 92% of its employees were fully vaccinated, 639 had requested religious or medical exemptions, and 450 risked being terminated for noncompliance.
A month later, those numbers have shifted slightly. As of this week, 95% of county workers are vaccinated. Another 569 are awaiting approval on exemptions, while just three are reportedly out of compliance. Since the mandate took effect, 48 employees have been terminated for not complying, and 25 additional workers opted to resign or retire.
The status of the 569 employees waiting to hear back on exemptions remains up in the air. If an exemption is not granted to a worker, they will have two weeks to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or they will be terminated from their role.
“These requests are reviewed on an individual basis, weighing all the unique circumstances of the exemption request and the duties of the employee’s job,” a spokesperson for King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a press release.
The county has yet to release a full, updated breakdown of vaccination rates by department. As of mid-October, 71 sworn officers with the King County Sheriff’s Office were still waiting to hear back on accommodations, while 12 were out of compliance. Since then, four of those who were not in compliance with the mandate have opted to get vaccinated, seven either resigned or retired, and one is in the “proposed separation” phase, with the outcome yet to be determined.
King County Metro reported 96 employees in October who did not comply with the mandate out of over 2,600 total employees, as well as 119 with exemptions awaiting accommodations.