VALDOSTA – Immunizations are our best tool to fight and eliminate vaccine preventable illnesses. Throughout the pandemic, many Americans fell behind on their routine vaccination schedules. Now, during National Immunization Awareness Month, is the perfect time to protect yourself and catch up.
Vaccinations are extremely important as children begin school. Immunizations that children may need before starting school include Tdap, the human papillomavirus (HPV) series, chickenpox, MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), Hep A (Hepatitis A), Hep B (Hepatitis B), MCV4 or other vaccines based on the individual’s vaccine records.
MCV4 or meningococcal conjugate vaccine, is a two-dose series. It helps protect against four types of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease (serogroups A, C, W and Y). While most people who get the vaccine do not have any serious side effects it is always a possibility. The most common side effects include redness or pain where the shot was given and occasionally a fever. These side effects typically go away within 1-2 days.
Students entering the 7th grade need documentation of one dose of meningococcal vaccine and one dose of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster immunization (called “Tdap”) to begin classes in the new school year.
Parents are also reminded that all students entering or transferring into 11th grade will need proof of a meningococcal booster shot (MCV4), unless their first dose was received on or after their 16th birthday.
Infants also need vaccinations from birth to two years old. Some of those vaccinations include Hep B, Rotavirus, DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis), Hib (Haemophiles influenzae type b), PCV (Pneumococcal disease), Polio, MMR, Varicella (chickenpox) and Hep A.
While most adults are aware that some vaccines are required before a child starts school or when a child is born, not everyone is aware that there are recommended vaccinations for people of all ages.
Some of those vaccinations include:
- Flu vaccinations are recommended annually for everyone 6 months and older.
- COVID-19 vaccinations are also recommended for everyone 6 months and older.
- Women who are pregnant should receive their Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccination during their pregnancy.
Travel immunizations are also important for individuals traveling outside of the country. Required or recommended vaccinations can vary based on the country being traveled to. For a full list of travel immunizations, visit www.cdc.gov/travel/.
“Most people remember to make sure their child is up to date on their vaccines, but don’t always think about their vaccinations,” said Reomona Thomas, South Health District Immunization Coordinator. “Vaccines are the best defense we have against potentially deadly diseases, and it is crucial that everyone that can get vaccinated gets vaccinated.”
All of the immunizations above and more are available at your local health department.
To determine what immunizations you may need, call your local health department or visit www.southhealthdistrict.com/immunizations.
Call your local health department today to schedule your appointment.