Gov. Inslee permanently mandates COVID-19 vaccines for WA agency employees
Gov. Jay Inslee has issued an executive directive making a full COVID-19 vaccine series a permanent condition of employment for state executive and small cabinet agencies.
New employees will be immediately subject to the requirement, and current employees have until July 1, 2023, to step into compliance.
Washington is home to approximately 62,000 state agency employees, according to 2021 data from the Office of Financial Management.
Previous vaccine mandates handed down by the governor’s office encompassed all healthcare and education workers. Thursday’s directive appears narrower, only explicitly referring to employees of state agencies. The governor’s office could not be immediately reached for comment on whether more sweeping long-term COVID-19 vaccine requirements are under consideration.
Impacted employees must be “up to date” on their COVID vaccine series, including additional booster doses recommended by the Center for Disease Control by July 1, 2023.
“COVID-19 vaccines are effective in reducing infection and serious disease, and widespread vaccination is the primary means we have as a state to protect everyone, including persons who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, immunocompromised individuals, and vulnerable persons including persons in health care facilities, long-term care facilities and other congregate care facilities from COVID-19 infections,” the directive reads.
“Widespread vaccination is also the primary means we have as a state to protect our health care system and to avoid the return of stringent public health measures.”
The directive notes that the governor “call[s] upon our higher education institutions, boards and commissions, and other separately elected officials to consider similar requirements within their agencies and jurisdictions.”