On Tues., King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that 70% of King County residents have completed their COVID-19 vaccine series – the largest county in the nation to reach 70% among adult residents. The first vaccines were administered in King County six months ago on Dec. 16, and King County initially set a goal to vaccinate 70% of its eligible population by the end of June. With more than 1.3 million residents over age 16 completing their vaccine series, the community vaccination level will also end the Local Health Officer mask directive in two weeks on June 29.
“We took big steps toward this milestone by opening our high-volume vaccination clinics in areas hardest hit by the virus, partnering with dozens of nonprofits to connect with hard-to-reach communities, and now working with schools and mobile teams to get the vaccine to every King County resident,” said Executive Constantine. “People across King County have shown what’s possible when we work together to keep one another healthy. Now let’s finish the task, ensuring that every person in King County can get vaccinated as soon as possible, and defeat this pandemic.”
Reaching 70% vaccinated means Local Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin’s indoor mask directive will expire in two weeks on June 29, allowing time for full immunity to develop for the latest people who have been vaccinated. People who are unvaccinated remain at higher risk for getting COVID-19 and spreading the infection to others, therefore unvaccinated individuals need to continue to follow Washington state guidance and continue wearing masks indoors when around other people who are unvaccinated.
“This level of vaccination is a tremendous achievement and protects both vaccinated individuals and our community,” said Dr. Duchin. “At the same time, we still have areas of the county, particularly in south and southeast King County, and among Black and African Americans where because of lower vaccination rates, cases and hospitalizations are not dropping to the same extent, and where continued precautions as well as efforts to increase vaccinations will be critical to prevent further disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 in our communities.”
Public Health – Seattle & King County will continue working to close vaccination disparities with outreach to communities that remain under the 70% threshold, including areas of south King County, and the Black and Hispanic communities.
“Our work is not over. Public Health is committed to continuing to adapt our strategies and work with community partners to close the gap in vaccine rates by race and zip code so that no one is left behind,” said Dennis Worsham, Interim Director for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Our community is committed to protecting one another and that is resulting in King County becoming a national leader in vaccination rates.”