Gov. Jay Inslee ‘extremely encouraged’ by state and health care workers vaccine progress

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called the spike in state employee vaccination rates one week ahead of the deadline extremely encouraging.

By Monday, Oct. 18, state employees, health care workers and anyone else impacted by the state’s COVID-19 mandate must be fully vaccinated.

As of Monday, 88 percent of health care workers reported getting the jab. Those numbers include data from 94 percent of hospitals in the state which was collected after Oct. 4. The other 12 percent are a mix of staff who are partially vaccinated, have an approved exemption and accommodation, have applied or plan to apply for an exemption that has not yet been reviewed, have not yet provided verification or are choosing not to be vaccinated, according to the Washington State Hospital Association.

“I am also extremely pleased to see that healthcare providers are reporting similar encouraging numbers. This morning, the Washington State Hospital Association reported an overall rate of staff vaccination rate of almost 90 percent statewide. I am confident this number will go up as well,” Gov. Inslee said in a statement sent out Monday.

MORE: A vast majority of health care workers in Washington are vaccinated against COVID-19

Data from the Office of Financial Management shows tens of thousands of state employees got the shot ahead of the deadline as well. It jumped from just over 68 percent of state employees vaccinated on Sept. 20, to near 90 percent on Oct. 4.

“We all can be extremely encouraged with the progress we have made in vaccinating public servants in response to this pandemic,” Gov. Inslee said.

Inslee continued to say in the statement he believes the vaccination rates will continue to rise. He also said he thinks union-negotiated impacts will give more time to reconsider their choices as they take unpaid leave.

“I am so thankful for a state workforce that has chosen the right and best path for themselves, their families and communities and the residents they serve. These actions have saved lives, prevented hospitalizations and protected the health of vulnerable populations and the unvaccinated, like young children,” Inslee said.

Inslee said the state has been diligent in its contingency planning for scenarios after the Oct. 18 vaccination deadline. However, the uptick in vaccination rates means there will be no ” massive disruptions in state services,” he said.

“A lot has been asked of everyone in this pandemic, and each moment has been worth it to protect public health and save lives,” he said.

Washington state employee vaccine report by Tasha Cain on Scribd

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