Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Monday that Washington State is mandating vaccination for state employees and contractors.
The requirement for state workers to get vaccinations comes as a spike in new COVID-19 infections fueled by the Delta variant hits the state, increasing the burden on hospitals.
Governor Jay Inslee addressed the new requirement in a press conference in Seattle.
“We have counties in the state today that have three times higher infection rate than King County. We’re seeing the future in those counties. Were seeing what’s happening in Tri-Cities today happening in other counties over the next several months. Because all counties are going up, every single county’s numbers are going up.”
According to the Benton-Franklin Health District, which oversees the region where the Tri-Cities is located – there were more than 400 new cases reported Monday.
“I just don’t want any state employee, or their family to suffer needless death. And we now have had two needless deaths that I’m aware of in our department of corrections alone that I’m aware of even though we’ve had a testing protocol that’s really good. That hit me right here, to see those children lose their parents. It is time to take action, I believe it is my responsibility to take action, and we are.”
According to the governor’s office, employees must be fully vaccinated by October 18 unless they make medical or religious accommodations. This mandate applies to in-person and remote workers.