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@covingtonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.covingtonreporter.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

Critical race theory became a political buzzword last fall after Gig Harbor resident Christopher Rufo (right) joined commentator Tucker Carlson on Fox News. (Screenshot from YouTube broadcast)
Educational merit of critical race theory sparks heated debate

In Washington, schools have seen parents protest and threaten to remove their children from schools.

The King County Courthouse. File photo
Sexual assault leads to calls for closing King County Courthouse

Crime is rising in the ’dangerous environment that has surrounded our seat of government.’

Courtesy of the Washington State Department of Health
COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations are rising in Washington

Data suggests the vaccine is effective in preventing hospitalization for COVID-19

File photo
King County Council OKs millions for courts overwhelmed by pandemic backlog

Some lawyers testified that the backlog has created an “access to justice” problem.

Photo courtesy of King County
King County announces purchase agreement of Federal Way hotel

Hotel and two additional Seattle properties to become part of county’s Health Through Housing homelessness program.

File photo
Brief history of rats in the Puget Sound region – and the problem they present

Local exterminator noticed big change in rats over the past 40 years.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn and his challengers, Kim-Khanh Van, Chris Franco, and Ubax Gardheere. Courtesy photos
King County Council District 9 candidates make pitches to voters

Two among Dunn, Franco, Gardheere and Van will advance from Aug. 3 primary

Sponsor of the motion to establish guidelines for the removal of encampments, Councilmember Reagan Dunn (courtesy of King County Council)
King County Council discusses policy for removal of homeless encampments

Still unclear what the standards will be, who will enforce it, and how jurisdictions will interact.

Stock photo
Face coverings again recommended for indoor public settings

Regardless of vaccination status, says Public Health – Seattle & King County

Most Read