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Immunizations encouraged this month

COVINGTON — August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and health officials are urging the public to make sure they are up to date on their family's immunizations.

The goal of National Immunization Awareness Month is to increase awareness about immunizations for all age groups.

The following are recommended vaccinations broken down by age group:

Children

(birth to six years of age)

• Hepatitis B

• Rotavirus

• Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (whooping cough)

• Haemophilus influenza type b

• Pneumococcal (pneumonia)

• Poliovirus (polio)

• Influenza (flu)

• Measles, Mumps, Rubella

• Varicella (Chicken Pox)

• Hepatitis A

• Meningococcal (causes meningitis and sepsis)

Adolescents

(seven to 18 years of age)

• Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

• Meningococcal (causes meningitis and sepsis)

• Influenza (flu)

• Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap booster)

• Varicella (2nd dose maybe needed)

Adults

(19 to 65 years of age)

• Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Td/Tdap)

• Human papillomavirus (HPV)

• Varicella (chicken pox)

• Zoster (shingles)

• Measles, mumps, rubella

• Influenza (flu)

• Pneumococcal (pneumonia)

• Hepatitis A

• Hepatitis B

• Meningococcal (causes meningitis and sepsis)

*Note: Some adult immunizations are recommended only for certain age groups or those meeting risk criteria.

"As whooping cough cases continue to occur sporadically nationwide and with flu season right around the corner, it is the perfect time to remind Georgians of the role each of us plays in keeping our community healthy," said Diane Watson, director of the Georgia Department of Community Health's Office of Immunization. "Getting immunized is a life-long, life-protecting, community effort regardless of age, sex, race, ethnic background or country of origin."

Most vaccines are given during the first five to six years of life, given that children are the most susceptible to infection. Others are recommended during adolescent or adult years and certain booster immunizations are recommended throughout life. There are also vaccines for certain diseases that may be encountered when traveling outside the United States.

"August is a good time with the new school year and flu season approaching, to remind family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors to update their vaccinations," said Dr. Lloyd Hofer, Director for the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments. "By staying up-to-date on recommended vaccines, individuals can protect themselves, their families and friends and their communities from serious, life-threatening infections."

The childhood, adolescent and adult immunization schedules are available on the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/default.htm. For additional information on immunizations, log onto www.georgiahealthinfo.gov.