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CNN 12 October, 2021 - 05:25am 16 views

More than 90% of state employees vaccinated against COVID-19 in Washington

KING5.com 12 October, 2021 - 03:20am

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Nearly 92% of Washington state employees have proven they have received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from the Office of Financial Management.

The latest data reflects employee vaccination status as of Oct. 4. It shows a significant jump in the vaccination rate among state employees when compared to Sept. 6, when about 49% of state employees were vaccinated. 

More than 60,000 state employees are required to prove they've been vaccinated by Oct. 18 or they risk losing their jobs.

“We all can be extremely encouraged with the progress we have made in vaccinating public servants in response to this pandemic," Gov. Jay Inslee said. "As today’s numbers released by the Office of Financial Management show, tens of thousands more public servants residing in communities across our state are now vaccinated, putting themselves and the people they interact with at much lower risk from this virus. The first numbers gathered showed around 49 percent, now we are over 90 percent. The numbers show this strategy to increase vaccinations has been a great success."

The state has been working on contingency plans for scenarios after the Oct. 18 deadline. However, the high vaccination rate "should settle any concerns," Inslee said, adding there "will not be massive disruptions in state services."

Inslee said he's pleased to see healthcare providers reporting "similar encouraging numbers."

Survey results released Monday morning show about 88% of the state's hospital staff will be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. The remaining 12% of staff not reporting full vaccination include staff that are partially vaccinated, have an approved exemption and accommodation, have applied or plan to apply for an exemption and are awaiting review, have not provided vaccination verification yet and those who are choosing to not get vaccinated.

The Washington State Hospital Association is anticipating 2-5% of hospital staff could leave the workforce because of the mandate, but the final number likely will not be known until early November. That translates to roughly 3,000-7,500 hospital workers statewide.

The state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate requires most state employees, health care workers, K-12 and higher education employees and child care providers to get fully vaccinated or face losing their jobs. It is among the strictest in the country, so far, with the state choosing not to allow a testing alternative due to the cost of tests.

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