National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) – 2019

Protect Your Family’s Future by Getting Vaccinated This August
Georgia Department of Public Health Urges Georgia Residents to Protect Themselves by Getting Immunized During National Immunization Awareness Month

ATLANTA – The month of August is about bringing awareness to immunizations, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Southeast Health District wants Georgians to think ahead and get vaccinations.

“This August, we urge parents to make an appointment to get themselves and their families vaccinated,” said Kay Davis, District Immunization Coordinator for the Southeast Health District. “Vaccinations are our best defense against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

August serves as a reminder that people of all ages require timely vaccinations to protect their health.

Each week of NIAM focuses on a different stage of the lifespan:

  • Pregnant women (August 5-11)
  • Babies and young children (August 12-18)
  • Preteens/Teens (August 19-25)
  • Adults (August 26-31)
  • 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.

Before the 2020-2021 school year, all students entering or transferring into 11th grade will need proof of a meningococcal booster shot (MCV4), unless their first dose was received on or after their 16th birthday. Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that affects the brain and the spinal cord. Meningitis can cause shock, coma, and death within hours of the first symptoms. To help protect your children and others from meningitis, Georgia law requires students to be vaccinated against this disease, unless the child has an exemption.

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 the 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 admission in college.

“The focus of vaccinations often lies on young children, but it’s just as important for teens, college students, and adults to stay current on their vaccinations,” said Shelia Lovett, Director of the Immunization Program of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

This August, protect your family by getting vaccinated. The Georgia Department of Public Health reminds adults to check with their healthcare 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).  So, talk to your health care provider or visit your local public health department and get immunized today.

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