First responders find mixed success seeking COVID vaccine exemptions

One of the region's largest firefighting organizations says it may have found a way to honor nearly 20 employees' requests for religious exemptions from having to take the mandated COVID-19 vaccination.

Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority has nearly 350 employees, and the agency says it is shifting 18 of them into non-operational roles in order to keep them on the job. The agency's large size might allow flexibility for employees when smaller departments struggle.

"Shame on my husband for giving the city of Redmond 28 years," said Tracy Robillard. Her husband works for Redmond Fire, and she says as many as 20 local city employees could face termination should their requests for accommodation not be honored.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Redmond firefighters battle for vaccine exemption

FOX 13 News first reported in September when Redmond firefighter families worried requests for accommodations might not be honored. An executive order dated October 1 from the Mayor’s office makes clear exemptions would not be allowed.

At Puget Sound Fire employees could shift into non-operational roles but smaller departments like Redmond might not have been able to afford similar flexibility.

After a lifetime of public service, Robillard feels like their decades-long loyalty means nothing without strict adherence to vaccine mandates. 

KEEP READING: Labor attorney suggests workers unlikely to avoid most vaccine requirements when citing religious objections

RELATED: Firefighter families call for religious exemption during Redmond City Council meeting

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