Washington State Patrol COVID-19 vaccination rate drops to 93% as state deadline approaches
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Patrol said on Wednesday that 93% of its employees had been vaccinated against COVID-19 under Governor Jay Inslee’s tenure for state employees.
This is a stark turnaround for an agency that recently fell behind other state agencies on immunization rates as part of Inslee’s order that Washington employees get vaccinated or lose their immunization. employment October 18.
In order to be fully vaccinated by this date, most workers had to receive their last vaccine on Monday.
Of the approximately 2,200 state patrol employees, 152 have not submitted documents proving they are vaccinated, agency spokesman Chris Loftis said on Wednesday.
The 93% rate is “almost double the last three or four weeks,” he said.
Of those who did not submit immunization information, 91 are commissioned officers and 61 are civil servants, he said. The vaccination rate could increase, he added, as employees still have until Oct. 18 to show they are vaccinated.
The new numbers are a big increase from data released last week showing the state patrol vaccination rate as of September 20 at a shade below 63%.
Since Inslee issued the order – one of the strictest in the country, with no ability to regularly test those who forgo vaccines – state employees have protested, sued, and demanded exemptions to avoid vaccines .
Part of that resistance came from members of the state patrol, dozens of whom signed a lawsuit. Meanwhile, the union representing the soldiers staged a protest at the state capitol where a series of public sector workers and others opposed the governor’s mandate.
Wednesday’s figures were likely to allay concerns about how the state patrol would handle operations if mass layoffs resulted in a significant shortage of workers.
In an email, Inslee spokeswoman Tara Lee wrote that the state patrol’s increased vaccination rate “shows that the vaccination mandate is working.”
“We are greatly encouraged by the increase in the number of state agencies,” added Lee. âAnd, we are very happy that state employees are choosing to get vaccinated and stay in the workforce. We believe the verified numbers will continue to increase as we get closer to the deadline. “
Meanwhile, the number of Seattle police officers who have yet to submit the required proof showing they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus has fallen below 300, according to the department’s latest counts as of Wednesday.
A total of 292 Seattle sworn officers – or 27% of all cops available to answer calls in the city – have yet to verify that they have been fully immunized before the Oct. 18 deadline for city employees.
But at least 111 officers that the Seattle Police Department identified among the 73% of officers classified as having “submitted” vaccination records are seeking exemptions from the city’s vaccination mandate, the department spokesman said. , Sgt. Randy Huserik said Wednesday.
The latest tally shows that 62 more agents have submitted cases since Tuesday, when the SPD for the first time publicly acknowledged specific figures for the number of its agents who have yet to provide proof of vaccination as part of a mandate of the city.
In August, Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a directive requiring city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18. Since vaccinations take two weeks to reach their maximum effectiveness, city workers were scheduled to receive their second injection of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. , or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, by Oct. 4, according to Durkan’s office.
The latest figures, updated on the department’s website Wednesday afternoon, show that 782 sworn officers, or 73%, had submitted immunization records, including the 111 officers requesting exemptions.
Almost all SPD civilian police employees (98%) submitted cases, according to the figures. Huserik said he was not easily sure how many civilians were asking for exemptions.
Seattle Police commanders, in a meeting to discuss staffing contingencies on Tuesday, received figures showing that 354 officers – a third of all officers on duty – had yet to submit a logbook vaccination.
In the event of a staff shortage due to agents not meeting the vaccination deadline, the department plans to deploy detectives and other agents in specialist missions to help cover 911 calls, according to sources close to the Tuesday meeting.