As of Feb. 6, 2023, King County no longer requires employees to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. According to a news release by King County, Executive Dow Constantine and Mayor Bruce Harrell announced they have updated their policies for King County and the City of Seattle to be synonymous with Public Health, which serves as the King County health department and is one of the largest metropolitan health departments in the U.S.
The news release stated that “[w]ith King County’s high level of vaccination booster uptake and lower levels of community spread, hospitalizations due to COVID infection remained at a safe level, making the overall risk forecast low enough to lift the mandate for employees, volunteers, and contractors.”
Executive Constantine relayed that “[e]stablishing a vaccine mandate for employees and contractors was critical to keeping employees and the public safe, and keeping services flowing. Today, our experts advise that immunity has reached a level that allows these requirements to be relaxed.”
The news release also disclosed that over 98% of the 15,000 employees in King County provided proof of vaccination when the mandate was launched. “At the City of Seattle, more than 99% of employees provided proof of vaccination or received an accommodation, while less than 1% were separated at that time,” the release shared.
On Feb. 7, The Watchdog’s Instagram account posted a story asking followers about their opinion on King County’s decision to lift the requirement. 44% of voters agree with King County, meaning 56% disagree with the update.
On the same day as King County’s update, New York City also ended their COVID-19 vaccination requirement for city employees. Based on very similar reasons to King County, NYC is basing their update on the reported 89.9% of fully vaccinated adults (18 and over) and residents according to the NYC Health page.