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Keep Your Preteen Safe – Vaccinate Them Today

Posted on March 11th, 2019

Vaccinate your preteen today so they can have healthy tomorrow.

In an effort to protect every adult and child, Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments is joining the Georgia Department of Public Health in recognizing March 11-15, 2019 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.

Immunizations Coordinator, Gloria Melvin, stresses. “It’s important for parents and young adolescents to be educated on immunizations that prevent illnesses. Thanks to these vaccines, preteens can have a healthier future by protecting themselves against preventable infectious 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 to 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).

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.

“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.”

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, 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.

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