PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Most employees working for the State of Oregon will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine but not everyone is happy about it.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown reasserted her decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all executive branch employees with the State of Oregon during a press conference on Wednesday. Employees must be fully vaccinated on or before Oct. 18 or six weeks after a COVID vaccine receives full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, whichever is later.
“This action will ensure our workplace is safe for government employees and the Oregonians we serve,” said Brown.
A woman who has worked for the state of Oregon for two decades told KOIN 6 News she’s worried she might lose her career because she’s afraid of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. She said the choice isn’t about politics for her. Others said they’re angry because they believe the mandate represents government overreach.
KOIN 6 News asked Dr. Anne Loeffler, the deputy health officer for Multnomah County, what she hears most often from people who are afraid to get the shot.
“It really is so many things — a lot of it is just plain misinformation and I just can’t even address all that. It’s some absolute craziness,” Loeffler said.
Loeffler said some of the concerns people have are legitimate.
“People are worried that it went too fast, they think it was too quick to be developed so fast,” she said. “The quickest we ever got a vaccine ready and out to market was like 18 months so this one was amazingly fast.”
But Loeffler explained that scientists have been researching the same type of vaccine that was vital in creating the COVID-19 vaccine for several years.
“What I think a lot of people don’t know is that that mRNA platform we’ve actually been working on for six years,” she said. “You know, people think that it wasn’t well studied. It was really well studied.”
Some people may qualify for an exception based on disability or “sincerely held religious belief.” Unlike health care workers, State of Oregon employees will not have the option of weekly testing instead of showing proof of vaccination. Employees who don’t comply will face consequences up to and including termination.
On Wednesday, Brown said she strongly encourages public and private employers to follow suit and require vaccination for employees.