Wisconsin meningitis vaccine mandate for students receives mixed reactions on social media

In May, Wisconsin health officials reinstituted a meningitis vaccine requirement for students entering 7th grade and a booster for students entering 12th grade. The requirement will take effect in the 2024-25 school year. In response to recent news articles about the vaccine requirement, some social media users are expressing gratitude for a measure that will keep their communities “safe and healthy,” while others are falsely claiming that vaccines are unsafe and that immigrants are responsible for outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Recommendation: Trending conversations about meningitis provide an opportunity for health agencies, community-based organizations, and other partners in Wisconsin to educate the public about the disease and the vaccines that protect against it. Messaging may emphasize that meningococcal meningitis is a serious bacterial infection in the brain and spinal cord that can cause severe symptoms, long-term disabilities, and death. Meningococcal vaccines are our best protection against meningococcal meningitis, and adverse effects from these vaccines are rare. Ensuring that general vaccine informational materials, including websites and FAQ materials, explain that infectious disease outbreaks occur due to low vaccination rates is recommended.