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Georgia public health department wants your teens and preteens to get vaccinated
Registered Nurse Beth Cassady prepares a vaccine at the Hall County Health Department. - photo by Tom Reed

A measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest has caused lawmakers in Oregon to consider tightening the state’s school vaccination requirements.

Earlier this winter, a few cases were even diagnosed in Georgia.

But there are lesser known vaccination requirements for older students that the District 2 Public Health Department in Gainesville is promoting March 11-15.

Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week “serves as a reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases,” an agency press release states.

“Every parent wants to protect their child from danger, yet many times parents don’t see vaccination as a priority,” Sheila Lovett, immunization program director for the Georgia Department of Public Health, said. “Vaccinating your child is the single best way to protect them from these preventable diseases, so we urge parents to make this a priority.”

A public health department rule requires that all students born on or after Jan. 1, 2002, entering or transferring into seventh grade or higher must show that they have received a booster shot for whooping cough and a meningococcal vaccination.

This rule applies to all public and private schools, excluding home schools.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following vaccines for preteens and teens:

• Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)

• Influenza (flu)

• Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

• Meningococcal Disease (MenACWY)

Each of the 13 health departments in the region 2 district serving Northeast Georgia has vaccines on hand.

“Vaccines are the best defense we have against serious, preventable and sometimes deadly contagious diseases,” the release states. “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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week

For more information on the Georgia Department of Public Health’s education initiative regarding preteen immunizations, particularly Georgia’s pertussis and meningococcal requirements for incoming seventh-grade students, visit

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