ALBANY, GA (WALB) - March 11-15 is Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week and the Georgia Department of Public Health is spreading the message to parents and students so they know about the importance of getting shots that can prevent certain diseases.
Beverly Reid with the Dougherty County Health Department said most children have completed their round of shots before going to elementary school but parents need to be aware of this new state mandate for their preteen.
"Preteens in particular have a certain set of vaccines that they should get starting at the age 11 years old or either entering into the 7th grade," Reid said.
This also includes students born on or after January 1, 2002 or any “new entrant” into eighth-12th grades in Georgia.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, those students are required to have T-DAP or shots that protect against the preventable diseases: tetanus, meningitis, pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” and diphtheria.
For parents who are weary or don’t believe in shots, Reid said she understands the concern but she said if shots didn’t work we wouldn’t be in the healthy state we’re in now.
“While I understand, I do acknowledge that vaccines are proven and have saved billions of people from diseases so in my mind, my opinion, vaccines have helped this world,” she said.
She also said we could start seeing more disease increases like we're seeing with the measles that’s starting to spread again.
Reid also recommends the HPV shot series which can prevent certain types of cancers
Don’t forget, the health department does offer free vaccinations, just click here for more information.