Bellingham city employees, contractors required to get COVID vaccine

City employees, volunteers and indoor contractors in Bellingham are now required to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood signed an emergency order Tuesday requiring all city employees to get the vaccine. As it stands, 79-percent of the city's 975 employees are already vaccinated.

Employees are required to get their final dose and provide proof of vaccination by November 19—or be considered fully vaccinated by December 3—if they want to keep their job.

"By this order I am committing the City to join the growing alliance of organizations, both public and private, who understand that the pathway to defeating COVID-19 is getting people vaccinated," said Fleetwood. "We are facing the worst pandemic in modern history. Our hospitals are filling, we are experiencing record numbers of illnesses and rising deaths, and now cases are increasing in our schools."

According to the city, this emergency order applies to all city employees, volunteers and contractors entering into agreements that will see them working inside city facilities.

"It is clear our return to normalcy requires firm action on all our parts. I hope taking this step within our City government will inspire other organizations to take similar actions as well. Public health officials at all levels have been clear that vaccination is one of the most important steps we can take to fight this pandemic. They have determined the vaccines are safe, highly effective, and reduce the number of infections and the severity of illness," said Fleetwood.

City employees can apply for medical or religious exemptions through October 15. Otherwise, they must provide proof they have received their last COVID vaccine shot by November 19.

READ MORE: Snohomish County officials expecting vaccine mandate for local government workers

RELATED: Gov. Inslee requests federal assistance for Washington hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients

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