To protect public health, states require that parents have their children immunized before they are permitted to attend public or private school. But for homeschooled children, the rules vary. With the spectacular growth in the number of homeschooled students, it is becoming more difficult to reach these youth to ensure that they are immunized at all. These children are frequently unvaccinated, leaving them open to infection with diseases that are all but stamped out in the United States with immunization requirements. States should encourage parents to get their homeschooled students vaccinated through enacting the same laws as those used for public school students. This could be done by enforcing current laws through neglect petitions or by requiring that children be immunized before participating in school sponsored programs. As most states require some filing to allow parents to homeschool their children, it would be easy to enact laws requiring that homeschooled children be immunized or exempted before completing registration.
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Document Type: Research Article
Law student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.
The Emanuel & Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics. He also serves as the Director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics.
Publication date: 2007-09-01