National Immunizations Awareness Month

Posted on July 26th, 2019

The month of August is about bringing awareness to immunizations, and the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments wants residents to think ahead and get vaccinations.

“This August, we urge parents to make an appointment to get themselves and their families vaccinated.” Gloria Melvin, Immunizations Coordinator, of Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale County Health Departments. “Vaccinations are our best defense against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

August serves as a reminder that people of all ages require timely vaccinations to protect their health.

Each week of NIAM focuses on a different stage of the lifespan:

  • Pregnant women (August 5-11)
  • Babies and young children (August 12-18)
  • Preteens/Teens (August 19-25)
  • Adults (August 26-31)
  • Back to School (July/August)

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:

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

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 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. 6

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.

For the 2019–20 U.S. influenza season, providers may choose to administer any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine (IIV, recombinant influenza vaccine [RIV], or LAIV4). LAIV4 is an option for those for whom it is otherwise appropriate. No preference is expressed for any influenza vaccine product.

This August, protect your family by getting vaccinated. The Georgia Department of Public Health reminds adults to check with their healthcare provider for their current vaccination recommendations, as well as parents 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 talk to your health care provider or visit your public health department and get immunized today.

For more information on immunization, visit http://www.gnrhealth.com/services/clinical-services/child-immunization/