It’s that time of the year again, the beginning of school.
But how do you know the students in your child’s classroom are vaccinated?
A CBS47 Eyewitness News investigation uncovers charter and private schools in the state are lagging way behind traditional public schools in the percentage of students vaccinated.
In 2016, California implemented one of the strictest immunization laws in the country, requiring that all children be up to date on their vaccinations in order to attend school unless a doctor says otherwise.
But the law, however does not apply to children who are home-schooled.
CBS47 calculated the numbers from the California Department of Public Health and uncovered over the past three years the number of kindergartners who were home-schooled and did not have their shots, quadrupled.
Leticia Berber with the Fresno County Department of Public Health says, “Immunizations are the foundation to a healthy community. We don’t see diphtheria anymore. We don’t see polio anymore. why? because of vaccines.”
Statistics from local county health departments show kindergartners are getting vaccinated from 96 to 98 percent for public schools.
But studies show the percentages drop for kids attending charter and private schools.
An EdSource.org analysis focused on some 65-hundred public and private schools that enrolled at least 20 kindergarten students last year.
In the central valley, the study found in Madera, Gould Education Center with 22 kindergartners shows only 36 percent were fully vaccinated.
In Visalia, Roosevelt Community Learning center with 29 kindergartners showed only 24 percent fully vaccinated.
In Fresno, Inspire Charter School – Central with 319 kindergartners showed around 34 percent fully vaccinated.
In an emailed statement to CBS47, Pam Bezemer with Central California Inspire Charter Schools said, “Inspire Charter School-Central follows immunization policies and regulations established under California state law. Our public school provides support and services to families who take the lead role in educating their children – what is often referred to as home schooling.”
She adds “The state establishes different immunization policies based on the type of education environment a family chooses.”
Health officials say it’s concerning because many are part of programs that meet several times a week with other students.
Berber says, “If we stop immunizations those diseases those viruses can come into our community and really wreak havoc.”
Here is the complete report from EdSource.org