Vaccine rates rise on long-wary ‘hippie’ island near Seattle

VVASHON ISLAND, Wash. (AP) — An idyllic island near Seattle known for its counterculture lifestyle and low immunization rates is seeing an increase in the number of children vaccinated for measles and other diseases.

Advocates attribute the rising vaccination numbers on Vashon Island to increasingly visible pro-vaccine information, expanded access to shots and media coverage of measles outbreaks in the Pacific Northwest and New York this year.

Public health officials say the number of fully immunized kindergartners in the Vashon Island School District jumped by 31% in the past six years, from 56% to nearly 74% in the 2017-18 school year.

While the gains are notable, the district still has some of the lowest vaccine rates in the U.S. It’s far below the 95 percent target needed for herd immunity that a majority of schools across the country hit.