Updated COVID-19 safety guidelines for fully vaccinated people

May 17, 2021 Swedish Health Team

With the updated COVID-19 safety guidelines announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late last week, you may be asking yourself what all of it means. You can review the updated COVID-19 safety guidelines and we’ve answered some common questions in our FAQ below.

The good news is that according to the CDC, fully vaccinated people may resume indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, with some exceptions such as crowded spaces and healthcare facilities. Shortly following the CDC announcement, Gov. Jay Inslee said that Washington state would also follow the CDC’s guidance. However, guidance may vary by county so we encourage you to check with your local health department for guidelines specific to your area. 

These guidelines highlight the importance of getting you and your loved ones vaccinated.

COVID-19 safety guidelines frequently asked questions

Q: What exactly does the updated CDC COVID-19 safety guidance allow for?

A: Under the updated guidelines, anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing.

Q: How does the update CDC guidance affect Swedish and our local community?

A: The updated guidance does not apply to healthcare settings, nor do they supersede local regulations. Swedish caregivers, visitors and patients will continue to follow our current safety guidelines and visitation policy.

Q: Are the updated guidelines effective?

A: The new guidance works best if people follow the rules — and unvaccinated people don’t shed their masks before they’ve been fully vaccinated, which comes two weeks after the final dose of a vaccine is administered. 

Q: Are there certain situations when should I still wear a mask?

A: Under federal guidance, unvaccinated or partly vaccinated people should still wear masks in all indoor settings and most outdoor venues when interacting with people from outside their household who may not be vaccinated. However, members of a single household of unvaccinated people can skip indoor masking if everyone else is vaccinated and can go without masks at small outdoor gatherings with other unvaccinated people.

Q: What do the guidelines mean if I am not fully vaccinated?

A: Unvaccinated people are vulnerable and susceptible to infection, severe symptoms and even death, and should continue masking and physical distancing. We encourage everyone who is eligible and able to get the vaccine to do so.

Q: Does this mean it’s safe to travel and do I still need to wear a mask on an airplane?

A: The CDC order that requires masks to be worn by everyone traveling on public transportation including buses, trains and at airports, is still in effect.

For more guidance on traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the CDC’s website:

Q. What else should I do to protect myself from COVID-19?

A. Continue to practice public health measures, including:

  • Continue good hand hygiene: Avoid touching your face unnecessarily, cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Keep a mask and sanitizer on hand: Be prepared for any situation by keeping hand sanitizer handy whether it’s in your purse, attached to your keychain, in your car, backpack, etc.
  • Plan ahead: Be sure to research venues, events and businesses to learn about their safety protocols and sanitizing practices.
  • Get vaccinated: Children 12 and over are now eligible to get vaccinated. Urge your friends and family to do this act of love for one-another and for vulnerable members of our community.

Q. Who’s eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. Children 12 and over are now eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month. The Advisory Council on Immunization Practices and the CDC also reviewed the data and recommend the use of the vaccine in adolescents.

Q. Where can I get vaccinated?

A. To locate a vaccination site near you, visit the Washington State Department of Health Vaccine Locator website or call the Washington State Department of Health at 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

Q. If I still have questions about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, who should I talk to?

A. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider or a trusted community leader. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.

Visiting Swedish soon?

The updated CDC COVID-19 safety guidelines do not apply to healthcare settings. You can find the latest updates on how we’re handling COVID-19 safety and protocols, including our masking guidelines and visitor policy, on our website at www.swedish.org

We strongly support vaccination and look forward to a safer summer as more and more Washingtonians get vaccinated.

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