HealthDay News — Health clinics in Clark County, Washington, are scrambling to meet the sharply increased demand for measles vaccination as people seek protection during an outbreak of the highly contagious virus.

State health department data show that orders for 2 types of measles vaccines in the county were nearly 500%higher in January than in the same month last year, spiking from 530 doses to 3150, Kaiser Health News reported. One facility, the Vancouver Clinic, said it gave 1444 measles shots in January compared with 263 last January — a nearly 450% increase.

There have been more than 50 confirmed cases of measles and 11 suspected cases in Clark County this year. Only 76.5% of kindergartners in the county had all the required immunizations for the 2017-18 school year, and health officials have long been concerned about the risk for an outbreak in the region. Statewide, orders for measles vaccine rose about 30% in January compared with the same month last year, from 12,140 doses to 15,780 doses, data show, Kaiser reported.

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The measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest also includes one confirmed case in King County, where Seattle is located, and four in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, Oregon. Washington and Oregon are among 17 states that permit nonmedical exemptions from vaccination requirements for school entry, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A measure introduced by Washington state Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) would remove personal belief exemptions for the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, Kaiserreported.

Kaiser Health News Article