In an effort to keep every adult and child safe, the Georgia Department of Public Health is recognizing March 13-17, 2023 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.
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 receiving one dose of adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination (called “Tdap”) AND one dose of adolescent meningococcal conjugate vaccination (MenACWY). Effective July 1, 2021, children sixteen years of age and older who are attending eleventh grade must receive a booster dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine, unless their initial dose was administered on or after their sixteenth birthday. 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.
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices currently routinely 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.