Jeff Duchin, Seattle - King County Public Health officer, said when considering whether to wear a mask indoors in public spaces, people should understand their risk based on local coronavirus activity and make decisions based on their own risk tolerance. (Getty images)

Jeff Duchin, Seattle - King County Public Health officer, said when considering whether to wear a mask indoors in public spaces, people should understand their risk based on local coronavirus activity and make decisions based on their own risk tolerance. (Getty images)

Should you keep masking up if you’re vaccinated?

Think about it, says King County’s top doctor.

Even as the federal government eases COVID-19 guidelines for those who are fully vaccinated, King County’s top doctor is still urging caution.

The Centers for Disease Control last week announced that people who are fully vaccinated can resume activities they did prior to the pandemic, and ditch masks both indoors and outdoors, along with staying six feet apart. Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 also do not have to quarantine themselves or get tested unless they have symptoms.

While states, tribes, local governments and businesses can still impose mask restrictions, the guidance is a landmark milestone in the country’s recovery from the pandemic, which has raged across the U.S. since early 2020. The decision came after a study found that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines provide 94% protection in frontline workers, according to CNN.

In order for vaccines to be effective, people must wait two weeks after a second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer, and after a single dose of Johnson and Johnson.

However, several businesses in Washington state have already said they will keep mask rules in place, the Seattle Times reported. Costco announced it would stop requiring masks for fully vaccinated customers, although its pharmacies, hearing aid and optical centers will still require them. Other businesses, like Starbucks, will still keep mask mandates in place.

In King County, as of May 17, more than 51% of people ages 16 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the Washington State Department of Health dashboard. It’s the fifth-highest vaccination rate by county in Washington state. Statewide, nearly 45% of people 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

Jeff Duchin, Seattle – King County Public Health officer, took to Twitter on May 14 to give his thoughts on the easing of mask restrictions.

Duchin said vaccinated people do have a very high level of protection to COVID-19 when compared to unvaccinated people, and have a much lower chance of getting sick if exposed. But it can be hard to know who is or who isn’t vaccinated in a public space.

“If unvaccinated people don’t wear masks indoors,” the spread of COVID-19 spread may increase, Duchin said. “And, because no vaccine is 100% effective, when more (COVID-19) is spreading in the community among the unvaccinated, the risk of being exposed and infected is higher for everyone.”

Vaccinated people with weakened immune systems, and those who want to reduce their risk as much as possible, should consider continuing to wear masks indoors when around unvaccinated people. On top of this, Duchin said everyone should continue to wear masks in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, schools, public transportation, long-term care facilities and hospitals.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Courtesy Photo, Sound Transit
Sound Transit postpones Kent Sounder parking garage opening to 2027

Fourth delay since agency in 2017 announced 2023 opening; voters approved funding in 2008

t
Kent receives $2M King County grant to buy land by Clark Lake Park | Photos

City will own all the property around the lake and keep property from development

t
Kent judge releases man from jail in Meridian school incident

Judge says ‘I have no other options remaining;’ family to take man to Eastern Washington

Newly sworn-in King County Prosecuting Attorney Leesa Manion. (File Photo)
King County’s new prosecuting attorney announces task force units

Leesa Manion said the units are focused on public safety and “King County’s greatest areas of concern”

t
18 pedestrians in Kent killed by trains from 2019 to 2022

Many safety improvements ahead at track crossings as city leaders seek quiet zone designation

t
Kent City Council approves surplus of wetlands near Bridges neighborhood

Land cannot be developed, but a new owner must maintain the property

t
Kent pedestrian, 70, dies after collision with vehicle on East Hill

Man was crossing SE Kent-Kangley Road Saturday evening, Jan. 21

t
Auburn man, 18, dies in four-vehicle crash Saturday in Kent

Teen was driver of one of the vehicles along Central Avenue South

t
Kent Mayor Ralph to deliver State of the City address March 14

Open to the public at Kent-Meridian High School

Most Read