North Central Health District


Vaccines Protect Families, Teens and Children by Preventing Disease


MACON – August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) and The Georgia Department of Public Health reminds Georgians to stay up-to-date and get a head start on vaccinations required for school age children.

“Vaccinations are the number one way to fight vaccine-preventable diseases,” said North Central Health District Immunization Coordinator Judy McChargue.  “Our goal is more than keeping our children healthy, it’s also to protect them and those around them from vaccine-preventable diseases.”

NIAM serves as a reminder that people of all ages require timely vaccinations to protect their health. This year, each week of NIAM focuses on a different stage of the lifespan:

o        Babies and young children (July 31-August 6)

o        Pregnant women (August 7-13)

o        Adults (August 14-20)

o        Preteen/Teen (August 21-27)

o        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:

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.

For the 2016-2017 season, the CDC recommends use of the flu shot (inactivated vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) for everyone 6 months and older. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017.

Students born on or after January 1, 2002, and those 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:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • PCV13 (up to age 5 years)
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Hib disease (up to age 5 years)
  • Varicella
  • 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 the 16th birthday, a booster dose should be administered before enrollment in college.

Recently, there have been several mumps outbreaks on college and university campuses across the U.S., including Georgia. Parents of college students should make sure their child is up-to-date with 2 MMR vaccines to protect them against mumps. Parents of college students should make sure their child is up-to-date on all vaccines.

“This time of year is ideal for the community to focus on the value of vaccinations and remind them to stay up-to-date”, said Shelia Lovett, Director of the Immunization Program of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “The focus of vaccinations often rests on young children, but it is just as important for college students and adults to stay current on their vaccinations.”

This August, be smart and get immunized. The Georgia Department of Public Health reminds adults to check with their health care 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). Talk to your health care provider or visit your public health department and get immunized today.

For more information on immunization, visit, or contact your local health department.

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