FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2021
Heather Thomas, 425.508.4980
More People Vaccinated Means Less Masks Required
Governor set to remove most restrictions June 30, or earlier if state hits vaccine goal sooner
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Snohomish County will remain in Phase 3 for Memorial Day and school graduations ahead. In addition to all counties being in Phase 3 effective May 18, Governor Inslee announced a statewide reopening date of June 30. That reopening could come even sooner if 70% of Washington residents over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This comes on the heels the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying that fully vaccinated people can now be mask-free in most settings. There are exceptions where required by federal, state, local, or tribal laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
For more than 383,000 residents, or 57% of those in Snohomish County that are 16 or older, this comes as welcome news. That's the number of people who have initiated vaccination and are either soon or now able to resume many of their pre-pandemic activities without a mask or social distance. However, masks are still required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation regardless of vaccination status.
The Governor’s Office and Washington State Department of Health (DOH) are working to update guidance documents to align with the CDC, with more clarity expected in the coming days on how people and businesses can implement the change. Governor Inslee indicated that this guidance does not apply to health care settings like hospitals, long-term care, or doctor’s offices; correctional facilities, homeless shelters, or schools. Staff, customers, students, and visitors in these settings should continue to follow existing requirements for mask usage.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Those who don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, are not fully vaccinated and must continue to follow all prevention measures.
What to keep doing after being fully vaccinated:
- Still follow guidance at workplaces and local businesses.
- Continue to take steps to protect yourself and others when traveling. International travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested within 3 days of their flight and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip. Vaccinated individuals traveling domestically are no longer required to seek testing or self-quarantine upon return.
- Watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially after being around someone who is sick. If symptoms develop, get tested and stay home and away from others.
- Talk to a healthcare provider if there are medical conditions or medications that weaken the immune system. Some people may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.
- Choose to continue prevention measures like mask usage, social distancing and avoiding gatherings if so desired.
Even with the growing number of residents vaccinated, Snohomish County is still far below the level of immunity needed in the community to stop disease transmission from happening. There is some concern that some unvaccinated or partially vaccinated residents may opt to skip the mask, which would slow down recovery efforts. Individuals are encouraged to keep masks handy, as well as proof of vaccination if requested by an organization. The best path forward is for individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and to continue wearing masks when around non-household members until fully vaccinated.
Pfizer Vaccine Authorized for Ages 12 and Up
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may be administered to people age 12 and older. Moderna and Johnson-&-Johnson are not authorized for use under age 18. Be sure that the venue you choose for your child is offering Pfizer rather than another vaccine.
Opportunities for vaccination of eligible adolescents and adults include:
- Your child’s medical home or primary care provider
- Other healthcare system venues open to the public, including local pharmacies
- Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce mass vaccination sites and smaller community outreach clinics.
The Health District is working with providers of other immunizations for children to expand their capacity to provide COVID-19 vaccination wherever it is feasible. Many school districts are also working on connecting with existing COVID-19 vaccine providers to coordinate school-based vaccination efforts for students aged 12 and up. All of this is a work in process, and it may take some time to get the roughly 40,000 newly eligible adolescents vaccinated.
For those who prefer to have vaccines done through their child’s primary care provider, contact them ahead of time to ensure they are providing COVID vaccination and their process for scheduling.
If choosing another venue for your child’s COVID-19 vaccination, don’t forget to still connect with their primary care provider to arrange for catch-up on other routine immunizations, well-child checks, sports physicals, and related health maintenance.
Several mass vaccination sites in Snohomish County offer Pfizer vaccine. Anyone age 12 to 17 will need an adult parent or guardian to accompany them to provide consent on-site. To find available appointments at the mass vaccination sites, visit http://bit.ly/snocovaccine. For other locations in Snohomish County and beyond, visit www.vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov or www.vaccine.gov.
Please remember that not all providers are set up to vaccinate adolescents at this time and be patient as more providers work to meet requirements to administer the COVID vaccine for those 12 and up.
COVID Testing Schedule
The schedule for the week of May 17 remains as follows:
- Everett site located at 3715 Oakes Avenue – Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Lynnwood Food Bank site at 5320 176th St SW – open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Evergreen State Fairgrounds in the front parking lot off of 179th Ave SE in Monroe – open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Appointments for testing are encouraged, and registration is available at www.snohd.org/testing. Those without internet access or needing language assistance can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing appointment. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.