What you need to know about the deadline for Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate

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FILE: Vaccine

OLYMPIA, Wash.– The deadline for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine is right around the corner.

Everyone included in the requirement must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. That means Oct. 4 is the last day to get either their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer or the single dose of Johnson and Johnson since it takes two weeks to be considered fully vaccinated.

Who’s included in the mandate?

  • State employees
  • Higher education employees
  • K-12 employees
  • Childcare employees
  • Most health and long-term care providers

The governor’s office says employees who refuse to get the vaccine could face getting fired. Employees who get either a medical or religious exemption will get reasonable accommodation and will not be subject to “non-disciplinary dismissal.”

A report from Sept. 27 done by the Office of Financial Management showed that 68.1 percent of those required to get the vaccine under the mandate had done so.

The same data showed that out of the 4,654 religious exemption requests sent in, 2,335 had been approved with 667 approved accommodations. When it came to medical exemptions, the total number of requests was 1,124. The data shows 205 of those were approved along with 121 accommodations.

The governor’s office has seen some pushback on the mandate. Some firefighters in the Spokane area said they would rather quit than get the vaccine. Others said they had filed an exemption and wondered what that would mean for their future on the job.

Other groups have held rallies in the city and protested the mandate. Over the weekend, the “Rally for Medical Freedom” was held at Riverfront Park Saturday morning.

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