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Exemptions for sale: How a central Washington doctor helped workers dodge vaccine mandate

An Ellensburg doctor repeatedly sold COVID-19 vaccine exemptions to residents across Washington, in some cases with no questions asked, a KING 5 investigation found.

Chris Ingalls, Taylor Mirfendereski

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Update: The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), which regulates worker and workplace safety, opened a new inspection into Awake Health on Nov. 24 based on this KING 5 investigation. An L&I spokesperson said state inspectors visited the Ellensburg medical practice Wednesday to start the process. Once inspectors complete their reports, L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health will determine if there were safety violations and what action the agency will take. 

Editor’s Note: The four undercover journalists who were issued mask and vaccine exemptions as part of this KING 5 investigation are not using the exemptions. One of the reporters who went undercover for this investigation is an author of this story.