Although Cowlitz County fire departments report much of their workforce is vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the state’s vaccine mandate deadline, leaders are concerned about how the requirement could affect the emergency response system.
Gov. Jay Inslee in early August announced the requirement for most state employees, health and long-term care workers to be vaccinated by Oct. 18. Firefighters who are licensed as an emergency medical technician or paramedic or perform medical functions in their official course of duty are included.
Volunteer firefighters whose positions are restricted to emergency calls and who do not perform medical services are not covered, and fire department administrative staff are not covered, according to the governor’s office website.