In 2016, California implemented one of the strictest immunization laws in the country, requiring that all children be up to date on their vaccinations to attend school unless a doctor says otherwise.
The law, however, does not apply to children who are home-schooled, a loophole that parents seem to be increasingly exploiting. Over the past three years, the number of kindergartners who were home-schooled and did not have their shots quadrupled, according to a Times analysis of state data.
It is unclear whether parents are opting for home-schooling solely because they want to avoid vaccines, or if they are choosing to home-school for other reasons and also happen to not want to vaccinate their children.
Regardless, there are now thousands of home-schooled children all over the state who do not have their shots — a number that keeps rising every year.
And though most of their schooling may take place at home, many are part of programs that meet several times a week with other students. If one contracted a disease such as measles, they could still spread it at the park, or the grocery store, or anywhere they come into contact with other people, said Dr. James Cherry, a UCLA expert on pediatric infectious diseases.
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