Employees of Washington State must be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 indefinitely, per a new executive directive Governor Jay Inslee released yesterday. Gov. Inslee stated that making vaccination a permanent condition of employment will address the “continuing threat” of COVID-19 and its variants “and ensure the health of our workforce.”
Leading up to his directive, Gov. Inslee calls COVID-19 an “ongoing and present” threat in the State. Hailing the FDA-approved and authorized vaccines as remarkable and life-saving, he claims they “have altered the course of the pandemic in fundamental ways” and called them the primary means of protection for everyone in the state.
The Governor clarifies that individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of Johnson and Johnson’s. State employees are also required to be boosted—or “up to date” with their vaccinations. The directive states that to be “up to date” means a person has “received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for them by the CDC.”
Current exempt employees of state agencies have until July 1, 2023, to get fully vaccinated and boosted. All new hires must be fully vaccinated and boosted prior to employment. The directive specifies the new requirements apply to employees of “state executive and small cabinet agencies” but does not mention public education or healthcare employees.
However, Gov. Inslee concludes by calling upon “higher education institutions, boards and commissions, and other separately elected officials to consider similar requirements within their agencies and jurisdictions.”
Upon the initial October 2021 deadline for vaccine requirements, the State lost upwards of 1,900 employees who either quit or were terminated for refusing inoculation. As of March 2022, the Office of Financial Management’s website states that there are over 65,000 state agency employees.