Measles outbreak sends vaccine demand soaring, even among the hesitant

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By JoNel Aleccia, Kaiser Health News

Demand for the measles vaccine has surged in a county in Washington state where the highly contagious virus is linked to more than 50 confirmed illnesses this year — including from people who had previously shunned the shots.

Orders for two types of measles vaccines in Clark County were up almost 500 percent in January compared to the same month last year, jumping from 530 doses to 3,150, according to the state health department’s figures.

Area health clinics are scrambling to keep up with the sudden demand, mostly among parents of children who had not been inoculated.

“During an outbreak is when you see an influx of patients who would otherwise be vaccine-hesitant,” said Virginia Ramos, infection control nurse with Sea Mar Community Health Center, which runs six sites that offer vaccines in Clark County.

“We’re just happy that we’re prepared and that there is vaccine available,” she added.

The Vancouver Clinic, which operates medical offices and urgent care centers in the area, reported that shots administered jumped from 263 in January 2018 to 1,444 last month, an almost 450 percent increase.