Health officials are reminding parents and guardians a new state law requires additional vaccines for some children.
Georgia Department of Public Health Rule 511-2-2 requires all students born on or after Jan. 1, 2002, who are entering seventh grade and all students new to Georgia in grades 8-12 to show proof they have received the following two vaccines:
Adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster, also called "Tdap," which is an acronym for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
Adolescent meningococcal vaccination, also called "MCV4."
The health department is calling this week Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week.
"Preteens are becoming increasingly social," Cathy Henderson, acting immunization coordinator for the West Central Georgia Health District, said Monday in a news release. "They go to overnight camps, attend parties and play team sports. They're beginning to interact with a larger social circle. While these are all fun parts of being a teenager, they could also increase their risk for contracting potentially life-threatening diseases. Couple this with the new school immunization requirements, and it's the ideal time to make sure your preteen is up-to-date on their vaccinations and protected for their future."
Steven Mitchell, director of the Georgia Department of Public Health Immunization Office, explained in the release why the booster is needed even if children already received the Tdap vaccine. "Protection from vaccines received in childhood wears off as kids get older," he said.LEARN MORE
For more information about the vaccination requirements in Georgia, call the health department at 706-321-6300 or click on the link attached to this story.
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkRiceLE.