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'We respect the choices individuals made': Spokane mayor addresses vaccine mandate impacts

Woodward said the City acted in accordance with the state mandate, and the public and department employees' safety was the principal factor considered.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward issued a statement on Tuesday addressing the city's compliance with Washington's vaccine mandate affecting paramedics and the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT).

“How to follow the state mandate was not an easy decision for anyone," Woodward said. "We respect the choices individuals made and the department will continue to answer the call for help."

Woodward said the city acted in accordance with the state mandate and the public and department employees' safety was the principal factor considered.

"Every attempt was made to keep employees in good standing and provide time to get the information they needed to make the choice that was best for the individual and their family," Woodward said. "We provided options that included accommodations for extra time to follow the state mandate. Several took advantage of those options or withdrew their exemption requests."

About 24,000 hours were lost to quarantine and more than 4,000 hours were lost to confirmed job-related positive cases through August, according to Woodward's statement. 

"These were extremely difficult choices made during extremely difficult times,"  Woodward said. "We respect and support the decisions that have been made and would welcome any of our employees back once they are able to meet the state mandate.”

Woodward also gave the statement on a video.