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On March 9, Republican lawmakers blocked new policies set by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services under Gov. Tony Evers’ administration, including a meningitis vaccine requirement for students entering 7th grade and a booster requirement for those entering 12th grade.

The Republicans who run the Legislature’s joint rules committee blocked the changes to Wisconsin’s administrative code until April 2024. The committee co-chairman Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, called the changes “arbitrary and capricious.” 

Previously, Wisconsin recommended but did not require a meningitis vaccine for school-age children.

The committee also blocked chickenpox and meningitis from the types of “substantial outbreaks” that schools must report to the state. And the committee halted an impending mandate that parents give schools evidence from a medical provider of a chickenpox (varicella disease) infection to secure an exemption from that vaccine requirement. 

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Republicans blocked a meningitis vaccine requirement for 7th graders. What’s behind the decision and what it means for parents

Wisconsin Public Radio Republicans block meningitis, chickenpox vaccine mandates

Wisconsin Department Of Health Services Immunization: 2023 child care and 2023–2024 school year immunization requirements

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Jacob Alabab-Moser / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.