ATLANTA – New for the 2014-2015 academic year, Georgia Department of Public Health Rule (511-2-2), requires all students born on or after January 1, 2002 entering or transferring into seventh grade and any “new entrant” entering into 8th-12th grades in Georgia provide proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination (called “Tdap”) AND an adolescent meningococcal vaccination (MCV4). 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).
In an effort to protect every adult and child, the Georgia Department of Public Health established this year, Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week, June 23-27 to serve as a reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.
“Protection from vaccines received in childhood wears off as kids get older, so preteens and teens need a booster shot known as Tdap,” said Steven Mitchell, director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Immunization Office. “We’re not only protecting them now against vaccine-preventable diseases, but also protecting their future. We can’t stress enough the importance of getting your preteen vaccinated.”
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 recommends the following vaccines for teens and preteens:
• Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)
• Influenza (flu)
• Human Papillomavirus (HPV) - three doses
• Meningococcal Disease (MCV4)
Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise awareness through schools, health care providers and media regarding preteen immunizations, particularly Georgia’s new pertussis and meningococcal requirements for incoming seventh-grade students. Speak with your physician today to find out if your preteen is up-to-date and if not, make a date to vaccinate.
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