The largest labor union in Washington state reached an agreement with the state’s governor to allow for religious and medical exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a landmark example to Oregon and other states that are mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for public and health care employees. President Biden announced a nationwide vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees, but exempted the U.S. Postal Service which has 600,000 employees (nation’s 4th largest by some measurements).
In mid-August, Gov. Kate Brown mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for all public and health care employees or they will lose their jobs by October 18. Hospital beds are counted based on the number of staff available to care for them. Oregon has been rated as the state with the least amount of beds and hospital capacity. With the state forcing qualified health care workers out of jobs, this will mean even less hospital beds for people who may need them for any number of medical reasons. One estimate this mid-summer showed that nearly a quarter of all hospital staff nationwide have not been vaccinated which was similar to the low numbers of vaccinated among the CDC earlier this year. read more