Washington Secretary of State’s office ends holdout, will implement COVID vaccine mandate

Jan 4, 2022, 5:06 PM
Secretary of State...
State Sen. Steve Hobbs courtesy Secretary of State's office

The Washington Secretary of State’s office will finally implement Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 state worker vaccine mandate, after operating as the lone holdout under Kim Wyman.

First Democrat to serve as Washington Sec. of State in decades swears in

Inslee’s mandate applied to staff members of all state agencies, except for those working under an elected official. Up until this week, the Secretary of State’s Office was the only department that opted not to apply the mandate, with Wyman stating that she “couldn’t live with forcing someone to choose between keeping their job and getting a vaccine.”

Wyman — a Republican — left the role in November of 2021. Democrat Steve Hobbs was appointed by Inslee to replace Wyman until a special election is held in November of 2022. The winner of that election will serve out the remaining two years of Wyman’s term, followed by a regularly scheduled election for the office in 2024.

Speaking to his decision to implement the vaccine mandate, Hobbs described it as a “commitment to the health and safety of our employees.”

According to numbers provided by Hobbs’ office, an estimated 70% of employees working under him have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, although he does expect that “there will probably be a few employees” who will opt to leave their roles over the mandate.

King County releases latest numbers on employee vaccination rates post-mandate

Similar vaccine worker mandates are also in place for King County and Seattle city employees, despite receiving significant pushback from members of law enforcement within the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff’s Office. As of November of 2021, 95% of county workers were reported to be vaccinated. Seattle reported a 94% vaccination rate among its own city-level employees.

Local News

MyNorthwest Staff

Kent seeks refunds for missed trash pickups as collection resumes for Western Washington

Trash collection worker solidarity strikes ended Tuesday for Western Washington as Republic Services ratifies a new contract with Teamsters.
23 hours ago
COVID-19 deaths, Snohomish County...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

‘Occupancy is virtually 100%’: Just one available ICU bed in all of Snohomish County

As of Tuesday morning, there is only one intensive care bed available in all of Snohomish County, as hospitals continue to feel the strain.
23 hours ago
King County COVID...
Nick Bowman

King County COVID cases finally trending down, but ‘we’re not out of the woods yet’

After soaring to record numbers in January, COVID-19 cases in King County appear to finally be trending in a downward direction.
23 hours ago
Rumors camps...
Nick Bowman

UW expert: False rumors about forced quarantine for unvaccinated were ‘strategically amplified’

Rumors claiming that the state would soon be setting up forced quarantines for the unvaccinated spread like wildfire in recent weeks.
23 hours ago
MyNorthwest Staff

New mass COVID vaccination site opens in Snohomish County

A new indoor COVID-19 vaccination clinic opens at the Everett Mall on Tuesday, and Snohomish County says a mass testing site is coming soon.
23 hours ago
Washington ferries...
MyNorthwest Staff

Washington ferries move ‘most routes’ to alternate schedules amid ongoing crew shortages

Washington state ferries have continued to deal with delays, staffing shortages, and reduced routes to kick of the new year.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Washington Secretary of State’s office ends holdout, will implement COVID vaccine mandate