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School Immunization Requirements Take Effect in Georgia

North GA – Let’s face it – nobody likes getting shots. But a shot lasts a second; diseases last much longer.

In an effort to protect every adult and child, the Georgia Department of Public Health established Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week, observed February 22-28, 2015, to serve as a reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Our Preteens and teens are branching out. They go to overnight camps, attend parties and play team sports – they are becoming increasingly social. While these are all fun parts of being a teenager, they can also increase their risk for contracting potentially life-threatening diseases,” said Sheila Lovett, acting director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Immunization Office. “Let’s help our children grow and protect them every way we can – including their future health and those around them with immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health Rule (511-2-2), all students born on or after January 1, 2002, entering or transferring into seventh grade and any “new entrant” into eighth -12th grades in Georgia need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination (called “Tdap”) AND an adolescent meningococcal vaccination (MCV4). 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 homeschool).

Vaccines are the best defense we have 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.

The CDC currently recommends the following vaccines for preteens and teens:

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) - three doses
  • Meningococcal Disease (MCV4)

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 new pertussis and meningococcal requirements for incoming seventh-grade students.

Contact your local county public health department (see phone numbers below for North Georgia Health District health departments) or speak with your physician today to find out if your preteen is up-to-date and if not, make a date to vaccinate.

For more information, click here.


North Georgia Health District 1-2 County Health Departments’ Phone Numbers:


  • Cherokee: Canton (770) 345-7371 / Woodstock (770) 928-0133
  • Fannin (706) 632-3023
  • Gilmer (706) 635-4363
  • Murray (706) 695-4585
  • Pickens (706) 253-2821
  • Whitfield (706) 279-9600