South Health District

It’s Time to Vaccinate your Preteen

What would you rather face, a shot that lasts a second or a disease that lasts a lot longer?

To protect every adult and child, the Georgia Department of Public Health established Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week, observed March 12-16, 2018, to serve as a reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Preteens are at an age where they are becoming more aware of their health decisions. They know they should go to the doctor and get vaccinated, yet many times they just don’t go — and parents don’t see it as a priority,” said Reomona Thomas, Immunization Program Coordinator for South Health District. “Parents, make it a priority to vaccinate your preteen against preventable diseases.”

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health Rule (511-2-2), all students born on or after January 1, 2002, entering or transferring into seventh grade and any “new entrant” into eighth -12th grades in Georgia need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination (called “Tdap”) AND an adolescent meningococcal vaccination (MenACWY). This law affects all public and private schools including, but not limited to, charter schools, community schools, juvenile court schools and other alternative school settings (excluding homeschool).

Vaccines are the best defense we have against serious, preventable and sometimes deadly contagious diseases. They help avoid expensive therapies and hospitalization needed to treat infectious diseases like influenza and meningitis. Immunizations also reduce absences both at school and after school activities and decrease the spread of illness at home, school and the community.

The CDC currently recommends the following vaccines for preteens and teens:

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal Disease (MenACWY)

Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise awareness through schools, health care providers and the media regarding preteen immunizations, particularly Georgia’s pertussis and meningococcal requirements for incoming seventh-grade students. Speak with your physician today to find out if your preteen is up-to-date.

For more information, contact your local health department, healthcare provider or visit

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