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South Health District

National Immunization Awareness Month

The month of August is about bringing awareness to immunizations, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) wants Georgians to think ahead and get the required school vaccinations.

“As you are making your back to school checklist, it’s a good time to prioritize vaccinating your family,” said Reomona Thomas, immunization coordinator for South Health District, Georgia Department of Public Health. Vaccines are the best defense we have against potentially deadly diseases.”

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).

Every adult in Georgia (19 years of age and older) should follow the recommended immunization schedule by age and medical condition. Vaccinations protect our families and communities; especially infants and those individuals who are unable to be immunized or who have weakened immune systems. This link is to the recommended adult immunization schedule:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule-easy-read.pdf

Vaccines protect families, teens and children by preventing disease. Not only do vaccinations help avoid expensive therapies and hospitalization needed to treat infectious diseases like influenza and pneumococcal disease, but they also reduce absences both at school and at work and decrease the spread of illness in the home, workplace and community. Adults should check with their health care provider for their current immunization recommendations as well as parents to check for their children.

For the 2018–19 U.S. influenza season, providers may choose to administer any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine (flu shot, flu mist or high dose vaccine). No preference is expressed for any influenza vaccine product.

Students born on or after January 1, 2002 and entering the seventh-grade need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster and adolescent meningococcal vaccinations. 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 Immunization Certificate, Form 3231.

Some schools, colleges, and universities have policies requiring vaccination against meningococcal disease as a condition of enrollment. Students aged 21 years or younger should have documentation of receipt of a dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine not more than five years before enrollment. If the primary dose was administered before the 16th birthday, a booster dose should be administered before enrollment in college.

Talk to your health care provider or visit your public health department and get vaccinated today.

For more information on immunization, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section or call your local health department.

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