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'Vaccines are the way forward': Seattle doctor applauds Washington's reopening plan

Dr. John Lynch at UW Medicine in Seattle says vaccines will continue to be the way forward for Washington state and help reduce COVID-19 transmission.

SEATTLE — A doctor at UW Medicine in Seattle welcomed the news of Washington state's reopening with "cautious optimism" Thursday.

“I'm happy with the decision,” said Dr. John Lynch, who treats patients at Harborview, “I want to get back to my normal activities as much as everyone else.”

He said he was surprised by the announcement that Washington aims to fully reopen by June 30, but said it makes sense to move in that direction because vaccines are so effective and already making a big difference.

"I think we have done a great job with vaccination," said Lynch. "Vaccines are the way forward. Vaccines protect us and protect our communities and allow us to do the things that we want to do, like take our masks off, be with other people, engage in social events, go out to dinner."

He said reopening will be challenged by those who don't get vaccinated.

“There are communities where that vaccine level still is low, and we're going to see COVID transmit in those areas, and that's going to continue to challenge even the larger vaccinated population,” Lynch said.

When asked if there's any scenario in which COVID-19 cases might tick up again in the coming months, Lynch said that could happen in counties with low vaccination rates.

He also welcomed the announcement that fully vaccinated people can remove their masks in most indoor and outdoor settings.

“I think it's definitely consistent with the science that we know is out there,” Lynch said.

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