U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., speaks to a gathering outside HealthPoint Auburn North on Thursday afternoon. The Congresswoman talked about the importance of childhood immunizations. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter                                Rep. Kim Schrier spoke outside Auburn’s HealthPoint Auburn North on Aug. 22. Photo by The Auburn Reporter

U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., speaks to a gathering outside HealthPoint Auburn North on Thursday afternoon. The Congresswoman talked about the importance of childhood immunizations. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter Rep. Kim Schrier spoke outside Auburn’s HealthPoint Auburn North on Aug. 22. Photo by The Auburn Reporter

Immunize every child

Auburn is one of a dozen cities in King County that suffered a measles outbreak in this year.

No child should be left behind when it comes to immunizations.

Kim Schrier has made it one of her top priorities during her first six months in office.

The pediatrician-turned-U.S. Congresswoman carried the message to Auburn on Thursday, Aug. 22, where she urged families to get their kids vaccinated before school starts up again.

“Taking care of your kids and getting them immunized is one of the most important things you can do for them and the community,” Schrier told a gathering outside HealthPoint Auburn North, the nonprofit, community-supported health clinic that hosted the event.

“Who knew that as a pediatrician entered Congress we would have a measles outbreak, and that some of us who work in the medical field could have predicted that this was a ticking time bomb?” she said.

To date, Auburn is among a dozen confirmed-measles-cases-and-exposure locations in King County this year.

The number of measles cases in the United States has hit a 25-year high this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Schrier, a Democrat from Issaquah who represents the 8th District, introduced in May the VACCINES (Vaccine Awareness Campaign to Champion Immunization Nationally and Enhance Safety) Act, which will increase immunization rates throughout the country and prevent future outbreaks of contagious diseases like the measles.

The VACCINES Act is under review in the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee. Schrier is optimistic the bill will garner enough bipartisan support from the House and Senate to pass.

“It’s really hard right now to find bills that get support from both sides of the aisle,” said Schrier, the first pediatrician and only female physician in Congress. “The point is it doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you want kids getting immunizations. You want facts out there, not hyperbole and misinformation, and we want a healthy population.”

The VACCINES Act recommends funding for the CDC to conduct surveillance research and run a national public messaging campaign.

Schrier stressed the importance of getting the message out to parents who may be hesitant or afraid to immunize their children. One way to do it, she said, is to have “a compelling story go toe to toe with the dramatic misinformation that is all over the Web.”

Anti-vaccination sentiment is out there, Schrier noted, carried by parents who have chosen not to immunize their children because of health concerns, or religious and philosophical reasons.

Schrier, the doctor, wants to inform the public and lay some of those fears to rest.

“When parents go online to type in MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), what they should see first is a story about how the MMR vaccine is saving lives,” Schrier said. “They should see a quick video of a 75-year-old doctor telling a story about when he held a child in his arms with measles and how relieved he is that it was a thing of the past.”

Schrier also took a moment to praise the work of the clinic.

“We value community health centers like HealthPoint,” she said. “(It’s) a safety net where people can come when they don’t have a primary care doctor, when they’re in between insurance, when they are on Medicaid and may not have a local provider who accepts it, when for whatever reason they can’t be insured. … This is really foundational and … represents the best in our country to recognize that we all benefit from a healthy, well-nourished, well-educated population.”

HealthPoint CEO Tom Trompeter noted that his center has been working closely in recent years with the community, with schools, and with other partners to address immunizations.

Last year at HealthPoint, the number of children under the age of 2 who were immunized was up by 11 percent over the previous year, Trompeter said.

During the measles outbreak earlier this year, HealthPoint worked with Public Health – Seattle & King County to provide MMR vaccinations to those in need at no cost.

“We’re proud of our work in immunizations and quality care,” Trompeter said, “and this really is an effort that requires partnerships.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

Blotter bug
Black Diamond police blotter | Jan. 4 – 10

A choking child, stolen cupcakes, and parenting issues.

A female Pine Siskin, which is one of several birds irrupting from further north. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Local birds experiencing a pandemic of their own

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging people to put away their bird feeders for the time being.

West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Ecology.
EPA loans King County $96.8 million to prevent untreated water from spilling into Puget Sound

Loan comes a week after an over 10 million gallon overflow into the Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

National Guard troops, pictured Jan. 11 at the state Capitol in Olympia, have been on standby in case of violent protests. (Photo by Roger Harnack, Cheney Free Press)
At the state Capitol, a quiet day amid heightened security

There were no protests or arrests as troopers patrolled and the National Guard assumed a lower profile.

Seattle-King County Public Health recommends users keep Naloxone on their person, just in case of overdose. File photo
King County sees spike in fatal overdose cases

42 suspected or confirmed overdose deaths were recorded between Dec. 27 and Jan. 9.

A parcel of land on Roosevelt Avenue would be developed into lots for 23 single-family homes if the city approves. Photo by Kevin Hanson
Council awards bid for roundabout in front of Enumclaw High

Also, 23 more homes could be coming to Roosevelt Avenue.

Property along Mud Mountain Road has sat vacant and unused for years. Now, a local group has come forward with a proposal for the city-owned park land. Photo by Kevin Hanson
Group proposing rehab center, public trail system on city park land

Anderson Riverview Park could get a facelift in the near future.

Former Councilman Tony Binion resigned his position immediately at the Jan. 11 meeting, while Councilman Kyle Jacobson will stay in his position until the end of the month. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
Two Enumclaw council members leaving their posts

Tony Binion and Kyle Jacobson are moving outside city limits — one just to unincorporated King County, and the other a lot farther.

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Power outages cause massive wastewater spill into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

King County estimates millions gallons of untreated wastewater overflowed into surrounding waters.

Most Read