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Inslee praises COVID-19 vaccine mandate as 95% of Washington employees get the shot

Of the 59,477 state employees subject to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, 95.15% verified their vaccination status. Nearly 2,000 either resigned or were fired.

TACOMA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is praising his COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Just a day after it took effect, the state reported just over 95% of the nearly 60,000 state employees had received the shot. 

"This is an amazing story, over 90% are vaccinated. And yes, there are a few hold outs that unfortunately listen to these hallucinations on the internet," said Inslee, Tuesday. 

The state's Office of Financial Management released new numbers Tuesday that show of the 59,477 state employees subject to the mandate, 95.15% verified their vaccination status. Another 1,887 employees either resigned or were terminated, and 2,887 employees are pending either a religious or medical exemption, or waiting to become fully vaccinated. 

Inslee said he expects the state's vaccination rate to keep going up since some employees decided to comply with the mandate late. The governor said he is holding the door open for those employees for another month to complete their vaccination process, which requires a person to wait two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single dose Johnson & Johnson. 

"So people who have had the first shot, are certainly going to get the second – and we hope that they come back at that point. They're not on the job today, but assuming their job is not filled, we would welcome them back," said Inslee.

That one month window was negotiated in September with the state's employee unions and extended to non-represented employees. 

But what about a second change for state employees who have not received any shot, but may have a change of heart later?

"I don't know what they're intentions are. Over time I think some people will make a decision and get the vaccine -- what that number will be, I cannot predict it," said Inslee.