Healthy people, families, and communities.


New School Immunization Requirements in Georgia

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 this year – Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week, June 23-27 to serve as a reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Preteens are becoming increasingly social. They go to overnight camps, attend parties and play team sports – they’re beginning to interact with a larger social circle. While these are all fun parts of being a teenager, they could also increase their risk for contracting potentially life-threatening diseases,” said Steven Mitchell, director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Immunization Office. “Couple this with the new school immunization requirements and it’s the ideal time to make sure your preteen is up-to-date on their vaccinations and protected for their future.”

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 8th-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).

National HIV Testing Day is Friday, June 27, and North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health is continuing to remind people of all ages to "Take the Test, Take Control".

The health district will provide free rapid HIV testing on June 27 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in the Whitfield County Health Department at 800 Professional Boulevard in Dalton. Free prevention supplies will be available along with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) related information. Any additional testing day events in the health district will be posted here on the district website.

Too many people don't know they have HIV. In the United States, nearly 1.1 million people are living with HIV, and almost one in six don't know they are infected. Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV. If you have HIV, getting medical care and taking medicines regularly helps you live a longer, healthier life and also lowers the chances of passing HIV on to others.

More information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

Prevent ALL Mosquito-borne diseases! Remember the 5 Ds:

1-Dusk/dawn - Avoid being outdoors at those times
2-Dress - Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
3-Drain - Dump any water-filled containers around your home
4-Doors - Doors, windows & screens need to fit well
5-DEET - Wear insect repellant containing DEET


Read more tips on how to avoid bug bites from the CDC:


Dalton (GA)If there were a vaccine against cancer, it is likely that most parents would get it for their children.

HPV vaccine is protection against most of the cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a very common virus that spreads between people when they have sexual contact with another person. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. HPV infection can cause cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men. HPV can also cause anal cancer, throat cancer and genital warts in both men and women.

Marie Smith, Immunization and Child Health Coordinator for the North Georgia Health District, said, “The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. If your teen has not yet gotten the vaccine, talk to their doctor or contact your county public health department about getting it for them as soon as possible.”

The HPV vaccine is given in 3 shots. The second shot is given 1 or 2 months after the first shot. Then a third shot is given 6 months after the first shot. It is important that children get all 3 shots for full protection.

For more information about HPV and HPV vaccine, contact your local county health department (find the phone numbers for county health departments in the North Georgia Health District by clicking on the Locations tab above) or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at