Data shows spike in Washington employee vaccinations as deadline approaches

FILE: COVID-19 vaccine
Jonathan Hayward
FILE: COVID-19 vaccine

SPOKANE, Wash. — More Washington state employees are getting vaccinated and will avoid losing their jobs. New data from the Office of Financial Management says 89.53-percent of state employees were fully vaccinated as of Oct. 4.

The state was at 68-percent on Sept. 20. The spike is likely attributed to the delay in reporting and the deadline fast approaching.  Employees have one week left to show proof of vaccination or get an accommodation based on an exemption.

If employees do not do either by Oct. 18, they will be fired. Thousands have applied for exemptions in Washington.

Data shows 4,849 employees applied for religious exemptions and 4,219 got approved. However, it does not mean they get to stay on the job. The employer still has to find an accommodation for the employee, if they can. This can be reassigning the worker to a different job or changing their work schedule.

State agencies in Spokane are at risk of losing employees because they do not want to get vaccinated.

The Spokane Veterans Home has 106 employees and only 73.58-percent are fully vaccinated. Six people applied for religious exemptions. They all either had accommodations denied or withdrawn.

Altogether, the veterans’ home could lose 22 employees.

Another agency that could take a hit — the Airway Heights prison

The Department of Corrections in Airway Heights has 686 people working there. Of those, 90.83-percent are fully vaccinated.

Thiry five people got religious exemptions approved. However, all but one got denied accommodations. One is pending.

Workers also asked for medical exemptions. Out of the 14 who applied, four got approved and three workers have accommodations.
This means the prison can potentially lose 63 workers.

All these numbers will likely change since workers still have time to turn in their vaccination cards or get an approved accommodation.

Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement that the state is diligently working on contingency plans for scenarios after the vaccination deadline.

Washington vaccination report by Tasha Cain on Scribd

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