State requires meningitis vaccination for seventh graders

February 02, 2023 11:23 AM | Anonymous

From Wisconsin Health News:

Wisconsin students entering seventh grade this fall will have to get the vaccines for meningitis and whooping cough, according to the Department of Health Services.

Students are already required to receive the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine at the start of sixth grade. The change better aligns with the shot’s recommended age of 11, the state agency said. 

In addition, a booster dose of meningitis vaccine will be required at 12th grade.

Past chickenpox infection will also have to be documented by a qualified medical professional. Child care centers will have to start working with parents now to ensure proper documentation, per DHS. 

“Each of these vaccines is already recommended for children, and today’s update improves that protection,” DHS Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge said in a Wednesday statement. “Parents who choose to keep their children up to date on vaccinations are not only protecting their own child’s health but are making a choice that protects the people who live and work in their communities.”

Per DHS, vaccination rates have declined during the pandemic. The most recent data during the 2021-2022 school year show 88.7 of students met minimum immunization requirements, a 3.2 percent decrease from the previous year, and 3.3 percent of students were behind schedule on their vaccinations, a 0.4 percent increase from the previous year. 

There is no change to exemption options for medical, religious or philosophical reasons. And DHS is encouraging, but not requiring, flu vaccination and COVID-19 vaccination, per the statement.

A legislative committee initially halted a state rule on requiring the meningitis shot from moving forward in 2020. 

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