FOLLOWUP: Deadline arrives with all but a few Seattle Fire, Police either vaccinated or exempt

Today’s the day city employees had to either be vaccinated or be exempt. Advance concern focused on the police and fire departments, which already had staffing struggles. Here are the newest numbers released by Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s office:


99% of our 11,000 employees have complied

94% vaccinated
5% exemptions
1% not submitted – approximately 150 individuals

Seattle Fire

93% vaccinated
6% exemptions
1% not submitted
Only 16 individuals have not submitted

Seattle PD

91% vaccinated
7% exemptions
2% not submitted
Only 24 individuals have not submitted

Both SPD and SFD had contingency plans if needed; City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, explained them at the council’s briefing meeting this morning – watch starting at 41:15:

In short, SPD, if necessary, would move to “Stage 3 operations,” in which all sworn personnel would be ready to staff precincts if needed; SFD’s contingency plan also would include moving personnel from desk to operations jobs, along with steps such as reducing the number of units initially dispatched to certain types of calls.

85 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Deadline arrives with all but a few Seattle Fire, Police either vaccinated or exempt"

  • Brian October 18, 2021 (1:35 pm)

    But but I thought they were going to all quit in droves? The local precinct captain even used it as a reason for why he couldn’t answer any questions regarding staffing at a local community meeting. Such a load of baloney. 

    • Anne October 18, 2021 (5:35 pm)

      No surprise that many waited until the last minute to submit proof. Not Precinct Captains fault- going by numbers that he had at time. Not a load of baloney at all -oh by the way they were & still are understaffed – 

  • Flo B October 18, 2021 (2:10 pm)

    WSB. If you can get an update from SPD my specific question would be if their motorcycle traffic officers have been impacted by non vax status and if so do they have other officers they could transfer to that unit. Thank’s!!

  • Blbl October 18, 2021 (2:15 pm)

    Good riddance to those not compliant, A nice way to weed out public safety employees who don’t actually care about public safety. 

    • meek October 18, 2021 (2:33 pm)

      pretty soon you’ll be hearing about how they’re just following orders. ah history loves to repeat itself

    • flimflam October 18, 2021 (3:39 pm)

      Agreed. Also Interesting to see how many are in compliance after all the hand wringing.The ones not complying are like that one person you work with convinced the entire business will fold if they quit! 

      • flimflam October 18, 2021 (8:41 pm)

        ***i was replying to BLBL*** the other comment wasn’t there when I (tried) posting mine and it is certainly not the one I was agreeing with.

    • WTF October 18, 2021 (9:10 pm)

      Did you really just say that?

  • Michael Waldo October 18, 2021 (2:41 pm)

    Just get the dang shots! They are safe, effective and free. If these folks don’t get vaccinated, bye bye. Public service means serving the public. The public is best served with everyone getting vaccinated.

    • 1994 October 18, 2021 (9:06 pm)

      Totally agree! No one wants to catch an airborne communicable virus/disease from their local police or fire staff.  Fully vaccinated status should be included in the union contracts for public service jobs. 

      • WW Resident October 19, 2021 (3:50 am)

        And here once again is the disconnect. If you’re “vaccinated” , it doesn’t mean you can’t still get it and still spread it

        • Jay October 19, 2021 (12:50 pm)

          It dramatically lowers the probability of catching and spreading the virus. Don’t look at it in binary terms, it’s not a “0% or 100% and nothing in between” situation. You’re much less likely to catch COVID-19 from a vaccinated person than an unvaccinated person, and if 95% of people were vaccinated the disease just wouldn’t be able to spread.

        • OneTimeCharley October 19, 2021 (5:34 pm)

          No one said that “vaccinated” people can’t still contract and spread Covid. What the “vaccinated” bring to the table is far lower cases rates due to their lower odds of transmissibility. On a large scale, these lower case rates mean that the community at-large is safer due to less virus circulating among the community members. Why is this so hard to understand, unless one chooses not to understand.

  • A-Red October 18, 2021 (2:45 pm)

    If 1% of FD = 16 people, and 2% of PD = 24 people, math says there are more fire fighters than police officers in Seattle. Is that true?

    • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy October 18, 2021 (5:55 pm)

      If decimals are absent you should assume rounding. Possibly rounding up. If that is the case you cannot do the math you’re attempting and expect to get a correct or comparable number / answer. 

  • Brian Hughes October 18, 2021 (3:03 pm)

    Nice work, everyone!  If you are a Seattle employee and were hesitant to get the jab, but then did it anyway, you have my appreciation!  It will have been worth it. 

  • Oakley34 October 18, 2021 (3:06 pm)

    Mandates work.

    • The King October 18, 2021 (6:11 pm)

      Just like the “two weeks to flatten the curve” shelter in place mandate. 

      • Jay October 19, 2021 (12:53 pm)

        Flattening the curve did work. Our hospitals didn’t get overwhelmed. We didn’t have to trat patients in parking lots. Cancer and heart attack patients aren’t dying of preventable causes because ICU beds are full and operating room are shut down. Flattening the curve worked and anyone saying otherwise is lying. In Idaho cancer and heart attacks are a death sentence because the hospitals are overwhelmed with covid patients. In Texas, patients are being treated in tents in parking lots. They didn’t attempt to flatten the curve and many are dying as a result. Don’t spread misinformation.

    • Mike October 18, 2021 (10:21 pm)

      Absolutely, I mean it totally made Metro transit and school bus driver employees rethink getting a vaccine… How’s that bus route treating you?

  • Peter October 18, 2021 (3:14 pm)

    Those are great numbers! If we could get 91%+ of the overall population vaccinated we could effectively end this pandemic. 

  • Flo B October 18, 2021 (3:35 pm)

    Brian, BLBL more good news. My insurance agent(Allstate)confirmed that insurance companies are quietly checking  vax status on those people with covid related charges. If they’re not vaxed they are DENYING payment. I’m GLAD to see us vaccinated people will not have to pay for those that aren’t. 

    • Amy October 18, 2021 (6:21 pm)

      Your home and auto insurance agent has the details of what health insurance companies are doing? Odd. I’d hesitate spreading hear say without hearing it directly from my health insurance company. 

    • Becca October 18, 2021 (8:33 pm)

      Not accurate.. I have confirmed with my doctor who serves on multiple state medical boards and committees that there isn’t a state wide database that can confirm whether you’ve gotten the shot or not. I’m vaccinated and it doesn’t even show up on my IR records when I searched for it online. I’m pro COVID vaccine so that’s not my issue here but the whole vaccination process has been a joke. People are getting the shot at drive thru tents and filling out the card themselves., not very legit in my opinion. 

    • Mel October 19, 2021 (10:20 pm)

      I have worked in health insurance for over 10 years. You are horribly wrong. We do not check the vaccination status, and we are not denying payment. In fact business is booming for us. I am 100% anti-vaccine but I can tell you our industry is 100% making money off of people like you.

  • Scubafrog October 18, 2021 (3:40 pm)

    7% “exempt” is a lot, when they’re dealing directly with the public.  That’s potentially a lot of Covid spread.  The SPD vehicles flying the Marsden flags in regard to the mandate is wholly  inappropriate, but not surprising for this organisation, and how far right politically they are.

    • Pessoa October 18, 2021 (4:50 pm)

      Get your facts straight. Those who claim an exemption step are still required to test negative. Why are you making control over one’s body a partisan issue?

    • Scubafrog October 18, 2021 (5:21 pm)

      Gadsden Flags, typo.  No department in America should be flying those partisan memorabilia on duty.  Ever.

  • Jissy October 18, 2021 (5:17 pm)

    “Exempt” doesn’t mean they were granted accommodations either.  

  • Shawn October 18, 2021 (5:31 pm)

    As good as this all is, that 7% exemption number is unbelievable. Absolutely no way that many SPD have a legitimate medical exemption. And any that don’t, and absolutely any that provide false documentation, should be fired as well.

    • The King October 18, 2021 (5:52 pm)

      There is also a religious exemption option. Why is this so hard to accept? You have your shot I’m assuming so you should be protected right? This comment section is overflowing with hate. 

    • CAM October 18, 2021 (6:10 pm)

      They are also allowed to file for religious exemptions. 

      • S.A. October 18, 2021 (7:01 pm)

        If they ask for religious exemptions they should have to prove that they’ve regularly and consistently declined all the other vaccines and medications developed with any relationship to fetal tissue. And sign a statement saying they will not take any of those vaccines or medications in the future. That would be proof of a “sincerely held belief” rather than an attempt to game the system.

        • CAM October 18, 2021 (7:12 pm)

          I can’t speak to the SPD but from seeing the requirements from other government agencies I would say that was true. 

        • The King October 18, 2021 (8:27 pm)

          Or…..their belief in a power higher than your wanting to force them to conform is more valuable than an inquisition could ever be. The sudden questioning of religion is almost disturbing. Easy there fella

          • Blbl October 18, 2021 (10:01 pm)

            I agree we should not be questioning one’s religious convictions. That’s why there should be no religious exemption.

          • The Admiral October 18, 2021 (10:29 pm)

            My god said it was okay for me to spread a deadly virus so back off fella!

    • Shawn October 19, 2021 (7:24 am)

      I’m religious, no hatred here, but religion has nothing to do with this. Religious exemptions for a *job requirement* are absurd. Just get a different job if you feel that way. And stay far, far away from me.

      • Pessoa October 19, 2021 (10:49 am)

        Perhaps you missed the point that forcing one to lie in order to keep their job may not be what a certain religious figure had in mind? 

  • uncle loco October 18, 2021 (5:36 pm)

    “Stuff like this would never happen in the US”- everybody two years ago.

    • heartless October 18, 2021 (7:26 pm)

      I’m not even sure what you’re trying to suggest, your point is so dull.

      But if you’re somehow trying to suggest mandates are unamerican, would this be a nice time to tell you that George Washington mandated vaccines?

      • uncle loco October 19, 2021 (4:20 pm)

        For smallpox when he was a general during the Revolutionary War, only to recruits. This was prior to the Constitution.  I don’t think he forced people to give up their livelihoods. You’re trying to compare apples to bananas and by your response I’m pretty sure you know my point.

        • heartless October 19, 2021 (6:03 pm)

          Your point really and truly was that people never thought vaccine mandates would happen in the US?


          That’s a weird point to try to make, because vaccines have been enforced on this land even before there was a US.  The original colonies forced newcomers to get vaccinated.  George Washington forced the military to get vaccinated.  Cities later followed and mandated vaccines, and in 1905 the Supreme Court ruled that vaccine mandates were indeed constitutional.


          I don’t think he forced people to give up their livelihoods.” 
          Uh…  If we’re going that route, then vaccine mandates for police and firefighters aren’t forcing “people to give up their livelihoods” either.  So maybe you want to re-think that argument… 

  • Jort October 18, 2021 (6:15 pm)

    SPD officers made lots of huffing and puffing about refusing the vaccine, but as expected, they folded like a wet paper towel in the wind when it came to choosing between performative conservative virtue-signaling and getting a paycheck. The police clearly had no issue with the actual science of the vaccines – they were just mad that somebody else told them what to do. Their eventual compliance is good news for the public safety of our city.  

  • onion October 18, 2021 (6:19 pm)

    Just read that WSU football coach Rolovich has been fired for refusing to get vaccinated. Good riddance. The state’s highest paid employee thumbs his nose at the mandate.. Of course he can well afford it since he made millions per year. Jerk.

    • Duffy October 18, 2021 (8:05 pm)

      Agreed fully. What a dolt. Makes 3MM a year coaching a football program that hasn’t sniffed a major bowl game in ages. Quite the hill for him to die on; gets paid THREE MILLION in annual salary to coach people chasing a football. Good luck getting paid that well again, Rolovich. But hey, at least you didn’t have to get a shot!

      • Nora October 18, 2021 (10:04 pm)

        “Major bowl game” – are you limiting that to NY 6? Last I checked, the Alamo Bowl is a pretty major bowl, and we were there just 3 years ago

      • Blbl October 18, 2021 (10:05 pm)


      • Cat October 19, 2021 (7:34 am)

        Some people answer to a higher authority than money. May God prepare a table for him in the presence of his enemies, and also for any of those that have lost jobs or been otherwise unfairly punished. 

      • Pessoa October 19, 2021 (10:55 am)

        Not a fan of these scandalous salaries, but look at it another way – he gave up a very lucrative job for his principles. I am sure he receives a nice severance, but still, his courage is admirable. Would you have same conviction and courage? 

        • heartless October 20, 2021 (10:26 am)

          Admire his conviction?  Sure, but you might as well say admire his stubbornness, here maybe two sides of the same coin.

          But courage?  If he is avoiding the shot because he believes it would anger a god, then I’m not sure it’s courageous.  If that is his fervent belief, then avoiding the shot just seems like playing it safe–I mean, the stakes are briefly become unemployed (as a millionaire) but still be in the good graces of an all-powerful deity (with all the perks that go along, heaven, etc.) versus keep a mediocre coaching job and risk eternal damnation.  I wouldn’t say picking the former is courageous…  Indeed, wouldn’t it be more courageous to defy that god, to stand against a god that tells you not to protect your fellow humans?

          As an interesting aside:

          For what it is worth, I believe Rolovich sought a religious exemption as a Catholic.

          And for what it is worth, the Pope is not only against the vaccine, but has declared we have a moral obligation to get vaccinated.

          So there’s that. (#notmypope?)

          • heartless October 20, 2021 (10:38 am)

            (apologies, there was an error in what I just wrote,  in the bottom aside–the Pope is obviously not against the vaccine, as I wrote, but rather for the vaccine.  I’d like to blame not enough coffee for the typo but, well, I’ve had a couple cups…)

          • Pessoa October 20, 2021 (1:42 pm)

            If he is a Catholic, as you say, it makes his decision even more remarkable,  doesn’t it, defying the Holy See?  As far as the hereafter, that may or may not be relevant depending on his faith, but it doesn’t subtract from the venomous scorn and raging hatred he is probably receiving from the usual quarters. 

          • heartless October 20, 2021 (3:26 pm)

            Yeah, I guess going against those you claim to follow does make that decision even more remarkable.  But, perhaps, not in the sense you mean.

            And as for the venomous scorn and raging hatred he might be receiving…  I’d say to him, join the club, buddy.  This is the new USA, and that hatred is coming from all quarters right now.  At least he has his cool millions to comfort him–it’s not like his convictions are leading him to the poor house.

          • Pessoa October 21, 2021 (8:41 am)

            It brings up a philosophical inquiry about the nature of courage, and what one is really sacrificing and perhaps gaining simultaneously. I suppose there are endless caveats and layers to this question -for example Rolovich might have a healthy support network. But that topic goes the endless rabbit hole. I do believe that personal courage is the rarest – by a mile – of all human traits. 

  • onion October 18, 2021 (6:28 pm)

    Very few legitimate excuses for not getting vaccinated, IMO. Wonder how many will try to sue over wrongful termination?

  • Wseattleite October 18, 2021 (7:05 pm)

    Congratulations to all whose actions followed their values.

    • CAM October 18, 2021 (9:33 pm)

      As a person subject to the mandate, who received the first dose last December, I can confirm for you that the vast majority of my colleagues’ “actions followed their values” and in fact did so many, many months ago. Just because I respect that someone else has the right to refuse or object to something does not mean I have to respect their decision or what they base that decision on. 

  • Beanie October 18, 2021 (7:46 pm)

    Those are higher numbers than were reported in the weekly roundup yesterday. Hopefully just a reporting lag? Yesterday said SPD only had 82% vaccinated.

  • Pessoa October 18, 2021 (9:24 pm)

    Personally, I thank every American who forced this issue of vaccine mandates into the public arena, irrespective of who they are and yes, even their intentions for doing so. The question of personal privacy and perdonsl sovereignty – who owns the rights to “you” – is really the only struggle that will matter in the future. “Free your mind, Neo”- Morpheus

    • Canton October 18, 2021 (11:19 pm)

      Agree. This is a slippery slope in  regards to ownership of ones body and mind. It’s complete draconian tunnel vision to only one option. Guess we’ll find out if exemptions pan out. The President, and Dr. Fauci said previously there would be no mandates. Vaccine roll out, incentives, then mandates. Fortunately, I have a job where I don’t have to take a “us or them” stance. Live and let live.

      • Live and let live October 19, 2021 (12:39 am)

        Interesting choice of words. I think the living part is what the governor is trying to encourage for as many folks as possible.

    • Shawn October 19, 2021 (7:31 am)

      Given that was over 100 years ago, I doubt those folks are still alive to read your message.

    • dhg October 19, 2021 (10:39 am)

      You write about this as if this is something new.  The Seattle health department was founded in 1915 and immediately began enforcing quarantines on people with TB.  They screamed about their freedoms but it was deemed a public health issue.  They did not get to run around and spread tuberculosis because of a religious exemption or because they are American and have rights.  Nope, they were clapped into a building funded by the city and kept there until they got better.  The health department banned TB chickens from the farmers market.  They cleaned up the city in the name of keeping everyone healthy.  In fact, the US Public Health policies have saved more lives than all the hospitals combined.  Covid is highly infectious. The vaccine is not 100% effective. Best way to save lives is to get the vaccine and quarantine anyone infected.

  • WSCurmudgeon October 18, 2021 (10:43 pm)

    On October 15, Zeynep Tufecki (zay-NEP tuu-FEK-chee) wrote an Op Ed in the NYT.   The link to it is below. 

    Among the topics she discusses are why so few people who said they’d quit rather than be vaccinated actually wound up quitting.  That’s why I’m posting this link in this article.  Their motivations were more than just the obvious need to provide for themselves and their families.  

    She provides data about some of the groups in the US which have low vaccination rates, and clarifies their motivations for not getting vaccinated.  

    The reasons are less political or ideological than I had previously thought. &nbsp

    If you haven’t heard of Professor Tufecki, or read her excellent analyses of the pandemic and her recommendations for how to address the many problems it has caused, you should do so. 

    She is of Turkish descent, but has lived in the US since the late ‘90s.  She teaches at the University of North Carolina, and is affiliated with several other academic institutions. 

    Not only has she been correct in most of her major findings and recommendations, but she’s often completed her analyses and made recommendations well before other experts.    

    She also has admitted her mistakes, sometimes before they were discovered by others.  This is a short piece, and I think even those of you who are skeptical of the COVID vaccines will find her serious treatment of the vaccine hesitant to be respectful.

    • Thank you October 19, 2021 (12:51 am)

      You are right, this was worth reading. Thanks for sharing.

    • Pessoa October 19, 2021 (6:57 am)

      Worth a read and good summary, but I question the value of sorting the hesitant into simplistic categories when it is a vastly more nuanced subject matter.  When a parent is reluctant to vaccinate their 16 year after reports of heart related complications, what group do they fall into? The statistically challenged? The overly cautious? Not so easy. 

      • CAM October 19, 2021 (7:38 pm)

        This is misinformation about vaccines and spreading false and dangerous information. In fact, “Rare heart inflammation cases (around one in 6000) were reported in teenagers after their COVID-19 vaccination. These cases have been mild and self-resolving. However, the chance of developing severe illness and death after a COVID-19 infection is much higher (2-10%). There is a higher risk of myocarditis from COVID itself than there is from the vaccine.” See:

        • Pessoa October 20, 2021 (8:31 am)

          CAM: Did you actually read and digest what I wrote? Try again. And don’t make silly accusations about “dangerous misinformation” when they are unsubstantiated. 

  • Flo B October 19, 2021 (6:37 am)

    Amy,Becca. Insurance companies are looking at charges and can tell certain treatments are only related to covid. The REALITY is that they know far more, and can find out a LOT of things about us, more than we realize.  

    • Amy October 19, 2021 (10:45 am)

      Your health insurance provider sharing your vaccine status with your home/auto insurance company would be an actual violation of HIPAA. Your health insurance provider charging you more because you are not vaccinated is legal and something that can happen. 

  • S - in West Seattle October 19, 2021 (8:24 am)

    It is a sad state to see how many people hate others over there own health decisions. What I do or you do with health decisions should not be up for debate. That is between you and your doctor. To hold someone hostage and tell someone to get a vax or loss your way of supporting your family is barbaric. I see history repeating itself and a lot of people just becoming yes people and not thinking about the repercussions of doing so. 

    • heartless October 19, 2021 (11:12 am)

      This is about people who choose to put fellow Americans in danger instead of simply and freely mitigating that danger by just getting a shot.  

      As for history repeating itself?  Yeah, sure–it’s true that the original colonists refused to let people join them until they got inoculated against smallpox.  So vaccines and vaccine “mandates” are as American as apple pie. 

      As for the repercussions?  I mean, we don’t really have to worry so much about smallpox these days.  So there’s that.

    • newnative October 20, 2021 (4:12 pm)

      S, how about you flip the comments around?  To hold someone hostage with your refusal to vaccinate yourself against a highly transmittable and deadly disease and expose them to losing their way of supporting their family is barbaric.Because when first responders get in your personal space and they are not vaccinated, that’s what happens. We try our best to wear a mask, keep distanced, get vaccinated, stay healthy only for someone to violate our trust and expose us. That is barbaric. 

  • Skeptic October 19, 2021 (9:04 am)

    The vaccine reduces symptoms, hospitalizations, and death in those vaccinated. It does nothing to reduce transmission. Judging by the sentiment that getting vaccinated will stop the spread is simply wrong. If you have information to the contrary please share. I just checked CDC and WebMD and couldn’t find anything.

    • heartless October 19, 2021 (6:53 pm)

      • Multiple studies show that a vaccinated person is significantly less likely to pass the coronavirus to someone else than an unvaccinated person is. 
      • However, the transmission risk is not reduced to zero.

    • heartless October 20, 2021 (3:29 pm)

      Since I’m here, just checking in with you, Skeptic…You know, you wrote about how you felt that getting vaccinated wouldn’t reduce the spread, and you really couldn’t possibly find any information to the contrary.  And then I showed you information to the contrary, so, you know, hey.  What’s up.

      • Skeptic October 20, 2021 (4:28 pm)

        Your information showed that the vaccinated can’t spread the virus from zero to 100%. I’d explain why this isn’t useful, but just like the virus, there’s a 99% chance you won’t get it.

      • Pessoa October 20, 2021 (4:32 pm)

        Okay, had to chuckle when I read that, Heartless; we must be birds of the same feather. (I do respect Skeptic’s commentary, though). 

        • heartless October 20, 2021 (6:36 pm)


    • Skeptic October 20, 2021 (6:47 pm)

      I guess my point is:1 How effective is the vaccine in stopping transmission?2 If it is effective in stopping transmission then why do we have to wear masks?3 If it’s not effective in stopping transmission then why mandate the vaccine?4 Is the vaccine or natural immunity more effective in stopping transmission?We are ending people’s careers without knowing if it’s helping or hurting. That’s all

      • heartless October 20, 2021 (10:17 pm)

        Honestly my first instinct is to wonder why you’re asking me all these questions.  I am not an epidemiologist, virologist, or public health expert.  And while I do have expertise in statistics, there’s no way for you to know that (or believe me when I say it).

        That said, I’ll nonetheless take a stab at answering you:

        1) The vaccine reduces transmission, even of the Delta variant.  See the sources I linked above for the actual studies.

        2) Since no vaccine is 100% effective, it makes sense to take other precautions.  When we feel sick with the flu, even if we have had our yearly flu shot, we stay away from others, wash our hands more often, etc.  Similarly, even when we have Covid vaccinations we know that break-through infections happen, and so we wear masks when appropriate. 
        Maybe think of it as don’t drive drunk, but also don’t speed, even when you’re sober?  Just like lots of factors go into reducing car crashes, lots of factors go into reducing viral transmission.

        3) The vaccine helps stop transmission, and, in addition, lessens the severity of symptoms, including reducing hospitalizations and deaths.

        4) From what little we know, vaccines are more effective than natural immunity at stopping transmission.  This is, in part, because natural immunity means you have to get Covid first–and since Covid can either present with no symptoms or take time for symptoms to develop, there is a large window in which people with Covid can easily and unknowingly transmit it.  Further, studies have shown that people with “natural immunity” are more likely to get Covid again than vaccinated people are to catch it after vaccination.  Many articles are out there if you want sources, but you can start here:

        Let me end by telling you that I (perhaps paradoxically!) have great faith in skepticism, and I hope you are a true follower of that philosophy.

Sorry, comment time is over.