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Federal Campaign Reaches Out To Northwest's Vaccine-Shy Parents

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho - The federal government’s top health officers are making an appeal to the Northwest’s medical community to boost vaccination rates. The deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control’s immunization branch spoke at a public health conference in Coeur d’Alene Friday as part of the national campaign.

Last year, Washington and Oregon immunization rates were among the lowest in the nation. Idaho’s was average. That’s according to a CDC survey.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson has joined the push to encourage parents to stay on top of vaccine schedules. She’s a pediatrician from the Seattle area who writes about the controversies surrounding vaccine safety.

“You know the first time that my son got his MMR shot, I bit my lip too," Swanson says. "The stories that I’ve heard online, on television, I remember them too. And so I think what we need to do is use science and how can we marry science with anecdote to tell informed stories that help families.”

Swanson says the record numbers of whooping cough this year in the Northwest make a case for pertussis vaccinations. According to the latest figures from the Washington Health Department, there have been 1,008 reported cases in the state, compared to 110 reported cases in 2011 during the same time period.

On the Web:

CDC - Immunizations and Vaccinations:

File photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control
File photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.