Georgia Department of Public Health requires vaccinations in school students

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) announced on Thursday that it will require all students born after January 1, 2002 entering seventh grade and new entrants in grades 8-12 to provide proof of whooping cough and MCV4 vaccinations for the 2014-2015 school year.

The law affects public and private schools, including but not limited to charter schools, community schools, juvenile court schools and alternative schools.

Additionally, the DPH designated June 23-27 as Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week. The event encourages parents and children to talk about immunizations against vaccine-preventable diseases.

"Protection from vaccines received in childhood wears off as kids get older, so preteens and teens need a booster shot known as Tdap," Steven Mitchell, the director of the Georgia Department of Public Health Immunization Office, said. "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."

The adolescent pertussis booster vaccination (Tdap) and the adolescent meningococcal vaccination (MCV4) are the best defense against preventable and deadly contagious diseases. Use of vaccines limits cases of expensive treatment for preventable diseases.

In addition to whooping cough and MCV4 vaccinations, the Center for Disease Control suggests teens and preteens receive vaccinations for influenza and Human Papillomavirus.