Published: August 9, 2021

Today Gov. Inslee announced most state employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, and he encouraged separately elected officials to adopt the same approach.

The Office of the Washington State Auditor will follow that proclamation. Everyone who works at SAO will be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, with exceptions only for health and religious reasons.

“This step is essential to our duty as public servants,” Washington State Auditor Pat McCarthy said Monday. “Doing everything possible to get people vaccinated against a deadly disease is, put simply, the right thing to do. We must set the example of caring for each other, our colleagues, our families and our communities.”

Since March 2020, SAO has implemented proven public health measures and maintained our duties to the public. SAO staff teleworked, practiced social distancing, and worn our masks. Now we have the most effective tool in our toolbox: Vaccines. We know vaccinations work. They can significantly reduce illness and death after COVID-19 infection, including the highly contagious Delta variant now sweeping the nation.

Vaccine mandates are becoming common practice in all parts of our economy. Many private-sector businesses already have instituted mandates, from restaurants to meat-packing plants to tech companies. Local governments are, too – the City of Seattle and King County announced a mandate today along with the Governor. The U.S. military also is mandating vaccinations.

Auditor McCarthy encourages all Washingtonians to tackle COVID-19 as they did when polio was a public health threat.

“When I was a child, I lined up with my classmates at school and received a vaccine against polio,” she said. “It was new. It was essential. And it eliminated polio as a public health threat. We can end COVID-19 with a similar community spirit.”

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