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Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee during a 2020 news conference in Seattle. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

All Washington state teachers and school staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 under a new employment condition announced by Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The requirement that includes school bus drivers and volunteers in the public and private sectors marks the strictest vaccine mandate for schools in the U.S. Staff have to be vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face the threat of being fired.

The big picture: Washington state is experiencing surging coronavirus cases numbers and hospitalizations. Inslee noted at a news conference Wednesday that 95% of coronavirus patients hospitalized in the state were unvaccinated.

  • Inslee also announced Wednesday that he's expanding a statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces to include everyone, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.
  • The Democratic governor this month imposed a vaccine mandate for most state employees and health care workers.

What he's saying: "This is a legally binding document," Inslee said of his order mandating all K-12 employees get vaccinated.

  • "We are well past the point where testing is enough to keep people safe. We tried it. It has not been adequate to the task at hand."

Go deeper

Oct 16, 2021 - Health

Pope Francis calls on companies to release COVID vaccine patents

Pope Francis. Photo: Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pope Francis called on pharmaceutical companies on Saturday to release patents to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible to the poor, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: There is a stark divide between countries that have access to COVID-19 shots and those that don't, and the gap has widened as some wealthier countries have begun distributing third doses.

Judge orders police union boss not to comment on Chicago's vaccine mandate

Chicago police officers arrive at the Fraternal Order of Police building on Oct. 13. Photo: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order against the Chicago police union president, barring him from making statements discouraging members from reporting their COVID-19 vaccine status to the city, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The big picture: The order came just hours before the deadline for Chicago city employees to report their vaccination status, but city officials said it would take days for them to determine who got shots and who did not, according to ABC 7 Chicago.

Mike Allen, author of AM
18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP senator calls for senility test for aging leaders

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, told me during an "Axios on HBO" interview that he favors cognition tests for aging leaders of all three branches of government.

Why it matters: Wisdom comes with age. But science also shows that we lose something. And much of the world is now run by old people — including President Biden, 78 ... Speaker Pelosi, 81 ...  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70 ... and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.

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