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As the Measles Outbreak Spreads, Demand for the Vaccine Skyrockets

Despite being largely eradicated in the United States two decades ago, the measles is back with a vengeance in some communities, especially those with populations that lean averse to vaccinations. But even among anti-vaxxers, demand for the vaccine is rising as more cases are reported, especially among children under the age of 10.

One example is the spike in demand in one Washington State county, where demand for the vaccine is up even among those who are vaccine hesitant or anti-vax, according to California Healthline, an independent publication under Kaiser Health News. Orders for the vaccine jumped 30% statewide in the month of January. But even more striking, in Washington’s Clark County, a fast-growing region north of Portland, Ore., orders for two types of measles vaccines went up more than 500% in January 2019, compared with the same month in 2018.

That’s no doubt due in part to the fact that Washington is experiencing a measles outbreak that was reported in late January. At that time, 22 cases had been reported in Washington’s Clark County. On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Washington State Department of Health have now tallied 50 cases in Washington, and 79 cases in 10 U.S. states. The Times also noted that Clark County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state, and the county’s public health director noted measles is “exquisitely contagious.”

New York State is also experiencing its worst measles epidemic since the 1990s, and at the end of 2018, measles cases were also at a record high across Europe.