August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual observance highlights the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. You have the power to protect yourself and your family against serious diseases (like whooping cough, cancers caused by HPV, and pneumonia) through on-time vaccination.
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.
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.
Students born on or after January 1, 2002 and entering the seventh-grade need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster and adolescent meningococcal vaccinations. Every child in a Georgia school system (Kindergarten-12th grade), attending a child care facility, or a new student of any age entering a Georgia school for the first time is required by law to have a Georgia Immunization Certificate, Form 3231. Below are the immunizations required for child care and school attendance:
- PCV13 (up to age 5 years)
- Hepatitis A and B
- Hib disease (up to age 5 years)
- Meningococcal Conjugate
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.
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://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section.