The Washington State Patrol said Tuesday that 127 employees, including 67 troopers, have left the agency due to the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for state employees.
Monday was the deadline for thousands of workers in Washington to prove they’ve been fully vaccinated in order to keep their jobs. The mandate – issued by Gov. Jay Inslee in August – applies to most state workers, long-term care employees, and teachers and staff at the state’s schools, including the state’s colleges and universities. The only opt-out was a medical or religious exemption, though the exemption only ensured continued employment if a job accommodation was made.
Patrol officials said that 74 commissioned officers — 67 troopers, six sergeants and one captain — and 53 civil servants have “separated from employment.” It wasn’t initially known how many were fired and how many resigned. The agency employs approximately 2,200 people across the state.
Patrol officials said that the state will review staffing impacts and move resources as needed. They also noted that they would be recruiting for three new academy classes in the coming months.
Washington’s vaccine mandate is believed to be among the strictest in the nation and covers more than 800,000 workers.
As of this week, more than 77% of people age 12 and older have initiated vaccination in Washington state and more than 71% are fully vaccinated. (AP)