There is no good reason for parents not to immunize their children.

Childhood immunizations protect us all.

It is simply irresponsible for parents to refuse immunizations.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month.

With school returning next week, Georgia Department of Public Health wants Georgians to think about the required school vaccinations.

Each week of National Immunization Awareness Month focuses on a different stage of the lifespan:

• Pregnant women (Aug. 5-11).

• Babies and young children (Aug. 12-18).

• Preteens/teens (Aug. 19-25).

• Adults (Aug. 26-31).

• Back to School (July/August).

“As you are making your back to school checklist, it’s a good time to prioritize vaccinating your family,” said Norma Jean Johnson, RN, county nurse manager. “Vaccines are the best defense we have against potentially deadly diseases and it is crucial that everyone that can get vaccinated gets vaccinated.”

Before starting the 2020-21 school year, all students entering or transferring into 11th grade will need proof of a meningococcal booster shot, unless the first dose was received on or after the 16th birthday, health officials said. 

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that affects the brain and the spinal cord. Meningitis can cause shock, coma and death within hours of the first symptoms. 

To help protect children and others from meningitis, Georgia law requires students be vaccinated against this disease, unless the child has an exemption, health officials said.

All the conspiracy theories and urban legends around immunizations are pure poppycock. 

To be fair, and accurate, there are a few — very few — medical exceptions for immunizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

All states, including Georgia, allow for medical exemptions for vulnerable children that might be more susceptible to serious side effects or reactions.

Measles, previously considered eradicated, is on the rise across the country. 

Science is not the friend of conspiracy theorists. 

There is no science whatsoever to support outlandish claims that vaccines are somehow related to infant mortality, autism or other conditions

Safe and effective vaccines are available to protect adults and children alike against potentially life-threatening diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, meningococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, shingles, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox), officials said.

Every adult in Georgia (19 years of age and older) should follow the recommended immunization schedule by age and medical condition. 

Immunizations are safe.

Everyone should be immunized.

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