Demand for measles vaccine soars in Washington DC as a measles outbreak storms Clark County. The county, which is against childhood vaccinations, is now the epicenter of the measles outbreak.
Measles, being a very contagious airborne disease caused by the measles virus, was keeping health clinics occupied in finding ways on how to keep up with the demand. According to state health-department figures, Southwest Washington needs for anti-measles vaccine raised up to 500 percent compared to last year’s demand. The sudden demand comes mostly among the parents whose children are not yet vaccinated.
Since January 1, 50 confirmed findings of measles have been reported in Clark County. There are 11 more suspected infected cases, one confirmed case in King County where Seattle is located, and four in Multnomah County. Most of the reported infected were under age 18 who were not yet vaccinated.
On January 18, the county declared an emergency in response to the measles outbreak. The declaration was to ensure the Public Health has adequate resources to continue its response and to have access to additional resources outside the regional area.
Multnomah County also released a letter to families of 5,000 stating their children will be excluded from school if their vaccine is not up-to-date. The families were given until February 20 to update their children’s anti-measles vaccine.
On January 25, a state of emergency has been declared by Gov. Jay Inslee after hearing another 25 measles cases.
As of April 22, four confirmed measles cases in Oregon related to Clark County outbreak have been reported. However, there was 10 more confirmed measles outbreak not linked to an outbreak in Clark County.
Clark County is very skeptical of MMR vaccines (measles, mumps, and rubella). The measles outbreak fueled Washington House debate over refusing vaccination. Washington is one of the 18 states that allow the parents to decide whether their children get vaccinated or not due to moral, personal, or other beliefs.
However, when the measles attack the county, it was found out that about only 76.5 percent of kindergartens in the county had all the basic immunizations for the 2017-2018 school year. If a student infected with measles virus cough or sneeze in the classroom, those unvaccinated students have the chance to catch the virus.
As the threat of measles become rampant in Clark County, parents are lining up their children for vaccines. In response to the outbreak, the county ordered two types of measles vaccines. The Vancouver Clinic, which operates medical offices and urgent care centers in the area, said that they were happy, they were prepared and that there was a vaccine available. If the outbreak is not controlled, healthy officials worry that more measles cases will be reported and it will set an all-time high record.
Washington recently introduced legislation that would no longer allow a personal exemption. On April 18, Washington state Senate passed a bill which would eliminate personal or philosophical exemptions from measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Public health advocates considered this a victory. The bill is expected to pass the House and be signed into law by Gov. Inslee.