Washington: 89% of public school employees get COVID vaccine

SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington state education department says nearly nine out of 10 public school employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Washington state.

The vaccination rate announced by officials Thursday, 89%, is slightly lower than that of other state employees, whose total vaccinated numbers stood at about 93% of workers this week.

The Seattle Times reports less than 1% of the state’s 150,000-plus school district employees failed to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s government worker mandate, which requires those who aren’t vaccinated against the coronavirus to have an approved religious or medical exemption.

Ten percent of workers have such an exemption, data show, while in other state agencies, only 3% were offered accommodations for religious or medical reasons.

Districts that fail to enforce the order and do not fire non-compliant school employees will see their funding reduced, and at least one school system, the Eatonville School District, has publicly refused.

Seattle Public Schools announced earlier this month that 99% of its nearly 7,800 staff complied with the mandate, with 205 receiving exemptions. In Bellevue, more than 96% of workers complied with the mandate, not including those with religious exemptions.