Federal vaccine campaign targets parents in Northwest

Top health officers in the federal governments are campaigning for the medical community in the northwest part of the country to improve its vaccination rates.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's deputy director spoke on Friday at a public health conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, as part of the national push. In 2011, Oregon and Washington had vaccination rates that ranked among the lowest in the country while Idaho's rates were average, according to a CDC study, NPR reports.

Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician from the Seattle area, has joined the campaign to persuade parents to follow vaccine schedules.

"You know the first time that my son got his MMR shot, I bit my lip too," Swanson said, according to NPR. "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."

A record number of pertussis cases in the northwest have shown an increased need for vaccinations. According to the Washington Health Department, there have been 1,008 reported cases of pertussis in the state this year, compared to 110 reported cases last year over the same time frame.