(Portland Press Herald) — The number of Maine children entering kindergarten without required vaccines increased in 2016-17, alarming public health advocates because it means there’s a higher chance of infectious disease outbreaks, such as measles, pertussis, or chicken pox.

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The rate of parents opting their children out of immunizations for non-medical reasons jumped from 4 percent to 4.8 percent, according to new data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Five percent of Maine kindergarten students is about 600 children.