Georgia law requires that all children entering school or day care be immunized. First-time school children must also receive an eye, ear and dental examination.

Students that do not pass the EED will not be kept out of school; this test simply alerts parents to any problems that may hinder their child's learning ability.

Lanier County health officials urge parents of school- aged children to make sure their children are up to date on shots and that a current immunization record is on file at their child's school. Not all states have the same immunization requirements, so if a student is new to Georgia, they must have a valid Georgia certificate, and be up to date on immunizations according to Georgia requirements.

"Parents that are new to the state often bring their children in for immunizations but don't have a copy of their immunization certificate. We have to start that child all the way over on their immunizations, though it is probably not even necessary," says Pat Hand, county nurse manager for the Lanier County Health Department. "I think that parents often forget how important it is to keep updated immunization records on their children."

The certificate of immunization shows that the child meets, or is in the process of meeting child immunization recommendations. State law does allow a school or facility, for justified reason, to permit a child to attend school without a valid certificate for up to 30 calendar days after first admittance.

On Friday, the Lanier County Health Department will host a "Back to School Party Rodeo Round-up" from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

During this one-day only, party, children can receive immunizations for $5) and the EED screening for free. There will also be games with prizes, coloring contests, information booths and a bounce house.

The coloring contest winners will be awarded at 10 a.m.

The Lanier County Health Department is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is closed from noon until 1 p.m. for lunch. For information on immunizations or requirements, call the Lanier County Health Department at 229-482-3294.

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