Wisconsin DHS announces new immunization requirements for children

The number of students meeting the state’s immunization requirements is decreasing.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 6:25 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2023 at 6:26 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The number of students meeting the state’s immunization requirements is decreasing.

From last year to this year, statewide compliance in schools dropped by 3.2%. Now, Wisconsin’s Department of Health wants to ensure some of the already recommended vaccines are required for Wisconsin’s kids.

The Meningococcal vaccine is now required for students entering 7th grade, and the booster for students entering 12th grade.

”These vaccines are routine-immunization and routine-care for children,” Stephanie Schauer, manager of the Wisconsin Immunization Program, said. “These aren’t any things that are sort of out of the ordinary.”

Additionally, children can only be exempt from the chickenpox vaccine if the child had a previous case that was confirmed by a health care provider. The new guidance is the result of vaccine success rate, as the widespread use of chickenpox vaccines has eliminated the vast majority of cases, Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer of the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases, said.

“There’s less general knowledge of what a chickenpox illness can look like,” Westergaard said. “The rationale for having a provider is to make sure we’re making decisions based off the best information.”

A full list of the state’s immunization recommendations can be found here. All recommendations follow national guidance.

The updated requirements went into effect for child care centers on Wednesday. For school-age children, the recommendations will go into effect at the start of the 2023-24 school year.

Vaccines for Children provides free or low-cost vaccines to uninsured children. You can call 211 to find a local provider or clinic for vaccinations.

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