SEATTLE - King County and the city of Seattle will be requiring most county and city employees to be vaccinated in order to retain employment, beginning in October.
The mandate comes after Gov. Jay Inslee announced that state employees will be required to be vaccinated to remain employed.
To meet this requirement, employees must have received their second shot of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or first shot of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, by Oct. 4 and provide verified proof of vaccination.
The requirement will apply to 13,500 employees in the Executive branch, including the Assessor, Elections, and Sheriff's Office. This requirement also applies to private health care and long-term care workers, according to King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Individuals with legitimate medical reasons or sincerely held religious reasons will be exempt.
The exemptions do not include personal or philosophical objections.
Employees who refuse to be vaccinated will be subject to dismissal from employment for failing to meet legal job qualifications.
Like with the state, the new requirement will go into effect on Oct. 18.
The announcement comes as Washington is experiencing a severe increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations in every county, due to the Delta variant, with the overwhelming majority of cases and hospitalizations being among unvaccinated Washingtonians.
According to the latest data available, King County leads the state in vaccinations, with approximately 81.5% of eligible residents 12 years of age and older having initiated their vaccination series, 12% higher than the statewide average as of Aug. 2.
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