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DPH Launches Campaign to Raise Awareness of New Immunization Requirements for Students

June 20, 2014

Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, all students born on or after January 1, 2002, and entering or transferring into seventh grade in Georgia, must receive a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination (Tdap) and an adolescent meningococcal vaccination (MCV4).  The same applies for any students new to Georgia who are entering grades eight through twelve. This law affects all public and private schools including charter schools, community schools, juvenile court schools and other alternative school settings (excluding homeschool).

To promote awareness of the new requirements, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has designated June 23-27 as Preteen Vaccination Awareness Week. Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and meningitis are all vaccine-preventable diseases. Not only are vaccines important for your child’s health, these vaccines are mandatory for children to attend school.

“Protection from vaccines received in childhood wears off as kids get older, so preteens and teens need a booster shot known as Tdap,” said Steven Mitchell, director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Immunization Office.  “We’re not only protecting them now against vaccine-preventable diseases, but also protecting their future.  We can’t stress enough the importance of getting your preteen vaccinated.”

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

For more information and all vaccine recommendations, visit:

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April 29, 2014

This week is National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States and here in Georgia. 

April 3, 2014

Prevention is the foundation of the work of nearly all public health professionals, including those at the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). By taking steps to avoid chronic and infectious diseases, people can live longer and better, not to mention save the U.S. millions of dollars in health care costs.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are some of Georgia’s leading public health voices on the importance of prevention in keeping Georgians healthy:

Jean O’Connor, DrPH, DPH’s Director of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention