Rome, GA: August is a busy month: planning the last family vacation, back-to-school shopping, registering for classes, moving off to college and school enrollment. “August is a great time of year to engage the community regarding vaccinations”, says Janet Eberhart, immunizations coordinator for Northwest Georgia Public Health. “Parents are refocusing on preparing their kids for or getting them settled in school, and it is our goal to make vaccinations a priority for both parents and students.”
“Immunizations are the best way to fight vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Janet Eberhart, immunizations coordinator for Northwest Georgia Public Health. “Our goal is more than just to keep our children healthy, it’s also to protect them and those around them from vaccine-preventable diseases. August serves as a reminder that people of all ages require timely immunizations to protect their health.”
A new vaccine requirement will take effect this year for Georgia students born on or after January 1, 2002 who are attending seventh grade and children who are new entrants into a Georgia school in grades eight through twelve. Students must have received one dose of adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster immunization (called “Tdap”) and one dose of adolescent meningococcal conjugate (meningitis) vaccination.
Every child in a Georgia school system (Kindergarten -12th grade), attending a child care facility, or a new student of any age entering a Georgia school for the first time is required by law to have a Georgia Certificate of Immunization, Form 3231. Below are the immunizations required for child care and school attendance:
- PCV13 (up to age 5 years)
- Hepatitis A and B
- Hib disease (up to age 5 years)
- Meningococcal Conjugate
“This time of year is ideal for the community to focus on the value of vaccinations and remind them to stay up-to-date”, says Eberhart. “The focus of vaccinations often rests on elementary school children, but it is just as important for college students and parents alike to be up-to-date on their vaccinations.”
Vaccines protect families, teens and children by preventing disease. They help avoid expensive therapies and hospitalization needed to treat infectious diseases like influenza and pneumococcal disease. Immunizations also reduce absences both at school and at work and decrease the spread of illness in the home, workplace and community.
“This August, get smart and get immunized, says Eberhart. “Check with your health care provider for your child’s current immunization recommendations — and check for yourself as well.
Safe and effective vaccines are available to protect adults and children alike against potentially life-threatening diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, meningococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, shingles, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox). “So talk to your health care provider or visit your public health department and get immunized today,” Eberhart says.
For more information on immunization, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section.