Spokane officials and state employees respond to Gov. Inslee vaccine mandate

SPOKANE, Wash. — In just two months, all state, private healthcare and long-term care employees will be required to be fully vaccinated—what was at first a choice is now a requirement for the state.

“We will be requiring our state workers and our contractor who come on to our sites, and workers in private healthcare and long-term workers to be vaccinated as a condition of further employment,” Governor Inslee proclaimed.

By October 18, those that fall into these categories have to be completely vaccinated. The Washington State Nurses Association released a joint statement with other healthcare unions saying, “As unions representing nurses and health care workers in Washington state, the Washington State Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and UFCW21 support science-based public health directives on COVID-19 vaccination requirements for frontline health care workers, with medical and religious exemptions. We stand firmly behind vaccination as the best way to save the lives of patients, family members and members of our communities.”

The Governor is legally able to do this, but his decision faced mixed responses in Spokane.

“I am a state employee and I’m glad he’s doing it. The amount of misinformation and fear among my coworkers is astronomical,” one person wrote.

Another response wrote, “I am being bullied in to getting a vaccine.”

King County and Seattle are also following the Governor’s directive, but that isn’t a conversation happening here in Spokane, according to spokesperson Brian Coddington.

“Mayor Woodward’s directive and encouragement continues to be we need to get vaccinated, so she’s pushing the message of voluntary vaccination, and also pushing on both city employees but also as a community, make sure those vaccines are accessible to people,” Coddington said.

The city stated they would rather encourage the vaccine, rather than adding a mandate.

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