Generally, a contest that involves hypodermic needles and a lot of sobbing is not the sort of contest we'd prefer to participate in.

Or to win.

Except, that is, when the opponents in the contest include chickenpox, measles, polio, meningitis, tetanus and Hepatitis (both A and B varieties).

Each of Oregon's 36 counties competes in an annual contest to immunize kids against those and several other potentially nasty afflictions.

And for both of the past two years, Baker County has bested all 35 of its foes.

The county's Health Department, which administers about 90 percent of inoculations in the county, had the highest percentage of 2-year-olds who are up to date on their shots.

That's a credit not only to the health department but, of course, to the parents who understand how vital it is to protect their children.