The state Assembly and state Senate will take action on Wednesday that will bar Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration from implementing a new rule that would have required seventh graders to get vaccinated against meningitis and mandated parents to show proof their children were infected with chickenpox before obtaining a waiver from the state’s chickenpox vaccination requirement.
The floor action comes after a Republican-controlled Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules voted in March to block the rule after a public hearing during which GOP members questioned the decision-making of state health officials, largely because they disagreed with their orders to shutter businesses in the weeks after Evers declared a health emergency over COVID-19 and to wear masks during the most threatening periods of the coronavirus pandemic.
The meningococcal vaccine was introduced in 2005 and has seemingly worked well. Although rare, meningococcal disease can cause devastating life-altering damage and death. Before the vaccine, there were usually between 30 and 50 cases per year in Wisconsin with several deaths, according to DHS data. Between 2012 and 2022, there were rarely more than 10 cases with just four deaths in a decade. In 2022, there was a single reported case.
Despite the rarity of the disease and the demonstrably effectiveness of recommending the vaccine, state government officials have mandated the vaccine for children. Why?
The short answer is that some unelected government health bureaucrat thinks that the vaccine is a good idea, so it should be mandated instead of allowing families to make their own informed health care decisions. It might be a good idea. Indeed, the data seems to show that the vaccine is a good idea for a lot of people. But is a mandate necessary?