Protect Your Family’s Future by Getting Vaccinated this August
Georgia Department of Public Health Urges Georgia Residents to Protect Themselves by Getting Immunized during National Immunization Awareness Month
8/5/2019 ~ by Jennifer King
It’s time to really think about vaccinations.
“August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and it’s when we particularly urge parents to make an appointment to get themselves and their families vaccinated.” said Ashley Deverell, RN, BSN, Immunization Coordinator for the North Georgia Health District, based in Dalton. “Vaccinations are our best defense against vaccine-preventable diseases and are available at all our health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties.”
People of all ages require timely vaccinations to protect their health, and in August, public health advisors especially focus on vaccinations needed for pregnant women, babies and young children, preteens and teens, adults, and children entering or heading back to school.
Every adult in Georgia (19 years of age and older) should follow the recommended immunization schedule by age and medical condition. Vaccinations protect you and they protect others around you, especially infants and those individuals who are unable to be immunized or who have weakened immune systems. It is always a good idea to have the adult vaccine schedule nearby as a reference and to make sure you are current on your immunizations. This link is to the recommended adult immunization schedule.
Vaccines protect families, teens and children by preventing disease. They help avoid expensive therapies and hospitalization needed to treat infectious diseases like influenza and pneumococcal disease. Vaccinations also reduce absences both at school and at work and decrease the spread of illness in the home, workplace and community.
Before starting seventh grade, all students born on or after January 1, 2002 and entering or transferring into seventh grade will need proof of a whooping cough booster shot and a meningococcal shot unless the child has an exemption on file with the school.
And, looking ahead for the 2020-2021 school year, all students entering or transferring into 11th grade will need proof of a meningococcal booster shot (MCV4), unless their first dose was received on or after their 16th birthday. Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that affects the brain and the spinal cord. Meningitis can cause shock, coma and death within hours of the first symptoms. To help protect your children and others from meningitis, Georgia law requires students be vaccinated against this disease, unless the child has an exemption.
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 their 16th birthday, a booster dose should be administered before enrollment in college.
“The focus of vaccinations often lies on young children, but it’s just as important for teens, college students and adults to stay current on their vaccinations.” said Shelia Lovett, Director of the Immunization Program of the Georgia Department of Public Health.
This August, protect your family by getting vaccinated. The North Georgia Health District remind adults to check with their local county health department or healthcare provider for their current vaccination recommendations, and parents are urged to check for their children. 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). So, visit your public health department or talk to your health care provider and get immunized today.
For more information on immunization, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section.