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Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich has so far kept his reasons for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine private. However, a new mandate from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will make Rolovich's decision a much more public matter.
On Wednesday, Inslee announced that all staff, faculty, contractors and coaches at the state's pubic schools, colleges and universities must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, unless they have a medical or religious exemption.
Rolovich was the only head coach who did not appear in person at the Pac-12 's football media day last month after the conference mandated that all participants must be fully vaccinated.
“I have elected not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for reasons which will remain private. While I have made my own decision, I respect that every individual — including our coaches, staff and student-athletes — can make his or her own decision regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. I will not comment further on my decision," Rolovich said July 21 in a statement posted on social media.
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A week later, the second-year Cougars coach told reporters on a Zoom call he planned to follow university policies for the unvaccinated.
“I’m not against vaccinations," he said, "and I wholeheartedly support those who chose to be vaccinated including our players, staff, coaches.”
However, in the wake of Inslee's order, the stakes have been raised. According to the governor's news release: "(I)ndividuals who refuse to get vaccinated will be subject to dismissal."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Washington State's Nick Rolovich may be forced to get COVID-19 vaccine