There’s a powerful network challenging vaccine mandates nationwide — 5/26/21

Credit: Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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Today we highlight a Washington Post profile of a law firm connected to the anti-vaccine movement — part of a network that has challenged coronavirus vaccine mandates nationwide, including at a Rock County, Wisconsin-owned nursing home that’s now weighing whether to lift the mandate.

The New York-based firm Siri & Glimstad has performed millions of dollars of legal work for The Informed Consent Action Network, a Texas-based nonprofit that makes unsubstantiated or debunked claims about the dangers of vaccines, Isaac Stanley-Becker reports.

“At stake in this latest contest is whether hospitals, law enforcement agencies and others can require employees to take a vaccine that was made available in an expedited process permitted during a public health emergency — and, likewise, whether schools may require the shots for students, faculty and staff members in the same way many require familiar vaccines for measles and chickenpox,” Stanley-Becker writes. “There is little case law on the matter, with only one vaccine, for anthrax exposure, previously cleared in a similar way.”

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“They’re peddling specific legal arguments designed to attract anti-vaxxers and others who might be willing to listen.”

James Hodge, director of the Center for Public Health Law and Policy at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, speaking to The Washington Post about the legal team for The Informed Consent Action Network, which is challenging COVID-19 vaccine mandates nationwide 

Data to note

Click on the image above to see Wisconsin DHS COVID-19 vaccine data, which is updated daily.

Here’s a look at the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard, which showed Wednesday that 47.2% of Wisconsinites have received at least one vaccine dose, including 83% of those ages 65 and older. Meanwhile, 41.3% of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated, including 78.7% of those older than 65. Racial disparities persist in distributing vaccines. The shares of Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to receive a dose remain below that of white residents. 

On Wednesday, the state DHS reported a seven-day average of 307 new daily infections, continuing a long-term downward trend in new cases. The state also reported five new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the full toll to 7,003. 

This chart from WisContext shows those trends. 

Find a vaccine site near you

DHS and the federal government have partnered with Vaccine Finder to help Wisconsinites find vaccinations. Vaccinations are often by appointment, but providers are increasingly offering walk-in options. In addition, people seeking COVID-19 shots can text their ZIP code to 438829 to find nearby vaccine providers. 

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There’s a powerful network challenging vaccine mandates nationwide — 5/26/21 is a post from, a non-profit investigative news site covering Wisconsin since 2009. Please consider making a contribution to support our journalism.

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