Keep preteens safe, vaccinate today
Posted: March 07, 2019 by Kristin Patten
VALDOSTA – Vaccinations keep preteens safe today so they can have a healthy tomorrow.
In an effort to protect every adult and child, local health departments joining the Georgia Department of Public Health in recognizing March 11-15 as Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week. This week serves as a reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.
“Every parent wants to protect their child from danger, yet many times parents don’t see vaccination as a priority,” said Sheila Lovett, Immunization Program director for the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Vaccinating your child is the single best way to protect them from these preventable diseases, so we urge parents to make this a priority.”
Vaccines are the best defense 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.
“Vaccinations are especially important in school age children since they come into contact with so many other people,” said Reomona Thomas, RN, Immunization Program Director for South Health District. “Vaccinations are given to protect everyone. These immunizations are the best hope we have for protecting everyone from the spread of dangerous and sometimes even deadly 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).
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, healthcare 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.
More information is available online at https://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section.