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Credit: KUOW Graphic/Kara McDermott

Low Vaccination Rate Puts Washington At Risk For Outbreak

Washington is prepared for infectious outbreaks — or so it seems.

But a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health says the state can do better.

The report evaluated states on indicators such as flu vaccine rates and needle exchange programs. These indicators are related to prevention, detection and response to outbreaks.

Washington passed in five out of 10 indicators. Childhood vaccination rates is one of the indicators where Washington has flunked; the state has one of the lower compliance rates in the country.

Another indicator is bloodstream infections, usually acquired in hospitals when catheters and IVs are used. These types of infections cause thousands of deaths each year. Washington didn’t pass this one, either.

Washington joins 11 other states with similar scores. Oregon met only three out of 10 indicators.

Overall, the report says the U.S. can’t continue to be complacent. Infectious diseases are largely preventable. They can disrupt lives and contribute to unnecessary health care costs each year.