Elizabeth Hovde of the Washington Policy Center deciphers some conflicting information regarding an update to the booster-inclusive vaccine mandate for state employment
Washington Policy Center
Is the science different for union members when it comes to COVID-19 and its vaccines? I’m wondering because a press release from Gov. Jay Inslee’s office Friday said his June 30 directive regarding a booster-inclusive vaccine mandate for state employment had been updated.
“The updated directive reflects feedback and recommendations from state employees and labor partners to pursue options for offering incentives for COVID-19 boosters instead of making them a requirement,” said the release. It also explained that the current requirement that employees be fully vaccinated – meaning the individual has received all doses of the primary series, even if that was a year or more ago – remains in place.
The Office of Financial Management (OFM) was in the process of creating rules for the June 30 directive from the governor when the update was made. And the Friday press release said that OFM was also in the process of bargaining with labor: “Based on the outcome of bargaining, more information will be forthcoming regarding the incentives and how they will be implemented.”
So it appears that the updated booster mandate, which Inslee has said is necessary to keep people safe, is now a bargaining chip for union negotiation, open to a system of incentives that will likely cost taxpayers money. (The permanent, booster-inclusive mandate was going to apply to employees of state executive and small-cabinet agencies.)
The vaccine-and-booster mandate is clearly not about a health benefit. But we already knew that. Neither vaccines nor boosters stop the spread or contraction of COVID-19, and King County numbers show people with boosters are more likely to test positive for COVID than those with just initial vaccination. So much for science.
The governor’s vaccine mandate is unacceptable, as are incentives for boosters. Labor and the governor are getting this all wrong. Current and future state employees who don’t choose vaccines or boosters don’t want to be forced to get a shot because of a state employment mandate that isn’t patient-centered and brings no demonstrable health benefit to the public. They don’t want “incentives.”
This vaccine mandate is discriminatory and makes no sense. It’s making less sense with every tweak. And it will likely cost you more money. It has already ruined careers, harmed state service levels and pitted co-workers against each other.
Elizabeth Hovde is a policy analyst and the director of the Centers for Health Care and Worker Rights at the Washington Policy Center. She is a Clark County resident.
- Letter: ‘The (Vancouver School) district ignored or broke numerous rules to enforce the governor’s emergency mask rule’Brush Prairie resident Bill Eling outlines examples of Vancouver Public Schools’ ‘missteps’ in a lawsuit against a parent of a Skyview High School student.
- POLL: Do you support legislation that would lengthen the school year one week to address student learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic?Do you support legislation that would lengthen the school year one week to address student learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Opinion: ‘Democrats have been much better at the game of politics and elections than Republicans and that is hurting people like me’Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance pleads with Republicans to focus more on winning the war with Democrats than the battle with each other.
- Opinion: Washington’s gas prices have jumped 25 cents per gallon since CO2 tax took effectTodd Myers of the Washington Policy Center continues to make the case that the costs of that policy should be offset by tax cuts and that cost increases should be small.
- Opinion: SB 5236 isn’t the solution: More nurses are needed, not more regulationsElizabeth Hovde of the Washington Policy Center shares that creating more commissions, more oversight and threatening penalties is not going to get us more nurses.