North Central Health District


Parents, It’s Time to Vaccinate Your Preteen


Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week Encourages Parents to Protect Children

What would you rather face: a shot that lasts a second or a disease that lasts a lot longer?

In an effort to protect every adult and child, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) established Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week, observed March 12-16, 2018, to serve as a reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Preteens are at an age where they are becoming more aware of their health decisions. They know they should go to the doctor and get vaccinated, yet many times they just don’t go — and parents don’t see it as a priority,” said Sheila Lovett, DPH Immunization Program Director. “Parents, make it a priority to vaccinate your preteen against preventable diseases.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health Rule (511-2-2), all students born on or after Jan. 1, 2002, entering or transferring into seventh grade and any “new entrant” into eighth through 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 homeschools).

Vaccines are the best defense we have against serious, preventable and sometimes deadly contagious diseases. They help avoid expensive therapies and the 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 in the community.

“Children may be exposed to any number of potential illnesses in their day-to-day activities, whether it’s in school, playing sports or just spending time with groups of friends,” said Judy McChargue, North Central Health District (NCHD) Immunization Coordinator. “Vaccines are the first and best line of defense when it comes to fighting these diseases, and we’re here to help. Each of our 13 health departments offers the common vaccines your child needs.”

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 on their vaccine requirements.

For more information on vaccines, visit DPH’s Immunization Section page. If you would like to schedule a vaccination appointment with any of NCHD’s county health departments, visit

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