Number of Washington workers getting shots continues to grow

SEATTLE (AP) — The latest state and city of Seattle data shows the number of government workers getting vaccinated against COVID-19 continues to increase amid mandates.

According to updated figures released by the Office of Financial Management, about 275 more Washington state employees have been verified as having gotten their shots since last week’s Oct. 18 deadline, The Seattle Times reported.

Gov. Jay Inslee had ordered state and school employees, as well as hundreds of thousands of health care workers, to be fully vaccinated by that date or lose their jobs. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine imposed similar policies.

The figures released Monday also show slightly fewer state workers left or were fired over the mandate than agencies had originally reported.

The latest numbers show 1,785 workers left or were fired over the mandate, rather than the 1,887 announced last week. Some agencies were still sifting through data when they turned over the previous figures and determining the status of workers has continued since then.

The numbers will continue to fluctuate in the coming weeks.

For thousands of union and nonrepresented state workers, that Oct. 18 deadline wasn’t firm: They still have time in the coming weeks to verify they are vaccinated, start the vaccination process or get an accommodation approved by the state. Workers that don’t do any of those could still lose their jobs.

Last week, the city of Seattle had seen 94% of its 11,000 employees vaccinated.

In an email Monday, Durkan spokesperson Kamaria Hightower said an additional 128 city workers — roughly an additional 1% — have begun their vaccination process.

“Across all departments, we have had little to no service impacts” from the mandate, Hightower wrote, but the city will continue to monitor staffing situations closely.

At the Seattle Fire Department, 93% of 1,081 workers are now vaccinated.

As of Monday, 92% of the Seattle Police Department’s 1,428 active workers are fully vaccinated, according to Hightower. Another 1% have begun the vaccination process.

All sworn officers not assigned to patrol are currently working in uniform in case they’re needed to handle 911 calls, according to the city.

“This was done in order to reassure the public that 911 calls are the department’s top priority and are being handled,” according to Hightower’s email.