Hawkins calls for statewide “School Employee Vaccination Day”

Following his Jan. 11 letter with legislative education committee leaders to the governor and state Department of Health urging greater access to the COVID-19 vaccine for school employees, 12th District state Sen. Brad Hawkins is now calling for a statewide “School Employee Vaccination Day.”

With the federal government’s recent decision to release more vaccine supply and many of the doses already allocated by Washington not yet administered, Hawkins says it is time to get going statewide to protect those helping to fulfill the state’s paramount duty regarding education.

“I’m calling on Governor Inslee to designate February 1 as our state’s ‘School Employee Vaccination Day’ and for the Department of Health to allow school districts and health care providers at the local level to coordinate access for any school employee who wishes to get vaccinated,” said Hawkins, the ranking Republican member on the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

“Let’s not overthink this,” added Hawkins. “Start planning today to set aside two dates in February for both doses. Providers can get lists from their school districts, ask staff to present identification cards, and start getting vaccines in people’s arms. School employees are critical workers and deserve to be protected as soon as possible.”

Hawkins acknowledges the challenge of coordinating vaccinations, but he believes it is often made worse by the state’s “top-down” approach and limiting flexibility at the local level.

“I’m thankful the health care providers in my region have been successful at getting our allocation of vaccinations administered, but the state should simplify things and provide more local flexibility in decision-making. Get the vaccines to our locals and let them get it done.”