Redmond firefighters battle for vaccine exemption
REDMOND, Wash. - Controversy is building in Redmond on whether first responders will be granted a religious exemption from taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
Family members and firefighters from the Redmond Fire Department say they jumped through all the hoops to apply for the exemption, but now worry the city might not provide accommodations.
"For us to even contemplate to fire any of these heroes, shame on us," said firefighter mother Sknge Alsin. "We should keep every job intact."
Alsin’s daughter Kayleight is married to a firefighter. Her husband joined the department after spending 10 years as a Redmond cop.
The family joined a group of firefighters and other family members who expressed their concerns.
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The city says it has 164 full time employees at the department. Firefighters say as many as 20 have applied for a religious exemption asking the city to allow them to continue mirroring the health protocols they have been using since the beginning of the pandemic.
Last week, firefighters say they believed the city would accept their exemption, but now worry the accommodations may not be allowed.
A city spokesperson said the department is following Gov. Jay Inslee’s state mandate on the vaccine.
Firefighter family members plan to swarm a Tuesday city council meeting to share their concern that up to 20 employees could lose their job if should they not seek a vaccine by October 18.
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