Under-vaccinated
Schools lack follow-through to check kindergarteners for vaccination compliance

About this project

Each fall, thousands of kindergarteners arrive at school without completing their vaccinations. The state of California requires schools to submit kindergarten vaccination rates, but leaves it to the schools to follow up and to exclude from school those who are not fully vaccinated. Many schools, however, struggle to successfully keep track of who is vaccinated and who is not. As a result, many students could be in school all year without completing their vaccinations, potentially endangering themselves and children and adults around them.

Stories

Measles outbreak: Low vaccination rates at some Bay Area schools raise alarm

With alarm over the Disneyland measles outbreak growing across California, almost 5,000 kindergartners enrolled in Bay Area schools are without proof they've been fully vaccinated, a major concern as the highly infectious disease continues to spread.

Partially vaccinated kids fall through the cracks

Sara Martín is not against vaccinations. But that didn’t make it any easier to cart her two young kids on two buses from East Los Angeles to a downtown clinic to get their required immunizations.

Majority at some LAUSD kindergartens are under-vaccinated

While a measles outbreak and a statewide pertussis epidemic have focused public attention on parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, experts say under-vaccination is also a pressing problem.

Alameda County works to improve vaccination rates

As we reported on Friday, kids without all their vaccinations are falling through the cracks at schools across California.

Vaccination status not necessarily ideological

The mother of an Orange County child who exposed 20 infants to measles last year never intended for her baby to go unvaccinated.
15-month-old girl gets her first MMR dose. (Lauren M. Whaley/CHCF Center for Health Reporting)

Thousands of kindergarteners enter school with incomplete immunizations

Thousands of kindergartners in Riverside and San Bernardino counties were conditionally enrolled in school this year without being fully vaccinated, state data show. Vaccination rates and policies have come under scrutiny because of the recent...

Measles outbreak: Bay Area day cares show high rates of unvaccinated kids

As new measles cases continuing to surface every week, Bay Area parents are still on high alert.

Undervaccinated children also a public health concern

The recent measles outbreak has raised the temperature of the vaccination debate, vaulting it into the public policy arena.

Vaccination rates low at LA County child care centers

In Los Angeles County, which has seen 33 confirmed cases of measles, it’s difficult to determine preschool vaccination rates. Nearly 30 percent of county preschools failed last fall to submit state-required vaccination data.

CalWORKs will reduce welfare if parents don't prove their kids are vaccinated

The outbreaks of measles and whooping cough over the past year put a spotlight on the need to ensure as many children as possible get their immunizations. That effort is getting help from an unlikely source: a state welfare agency that will reduce...

Authors

Lauren M. Whaley

Lauren M. Whaley

Lauren M. Whaley is a photographer, radio producer and print reporter specializing in topics related to mental illness, reproductive health care and health disparities. She is also a childbirth photographer.

This year, she is working on a series about how low-income parents access care for perinatal mental illnesses. The project is funded by the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism.

Whaley was a 2016-17 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology.

Her work has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) STEM story project. She has contributed radio, video, photography and written stories to KQED Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, the San Jose Mercury News, the New York Times and other media outlets. For six years, I worked as the Center for Health Reporting's multimedia journalist, based in Los Angeles. She is a past president of the national organization Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) and spent her early 20s leading canoe expeditions for young women, including a solo-led 45-trip in the Canadian Arctic. 

Project Partners

© 2018 Center for Health Reporting

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