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Health department prepares for back-to-school vaccination rush

School vaccinations

Organizing your child's vaccinations can be a stressful affair, so it's important to get them done early. (WRDW-TV / July 26, 2011)

News 12 at This Morning / Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It can be a traumatic time of the year for some children when back-to-school equals needles and pain.

Finding out the shots her son Christopher needs has been a learning experience for Juanita Harris.

"This will be his first time going to a school, and I'm kind of shocked and surprised," she said.

Fran Mitchell, a nurse practitoner at the Richmond County Health Department, said there is a new requirement for the Prevnar vaccine.

Prevnar 13 helps protect children against six additional strains of bacteria that can cause blood infections, pneumonia and meningitis.

Here's a guide for parents on which shots are needed:

Requirements for school for young children ages (Ages 4-6):

  • DTAP
  • Hepatitis B
  • Polio
  • MMR
  • Varicella (Two doses)
  • Hepatitis A (if born on or after Jan. 1, 2006)

There are a few more recommended shots for older students (Ages 11-12):
-Hepatitis a
-Varicella (2nd dose) Required for 6th grade entry
-Tdap (Tetanus and Acellular Pertussis)

Mitchell said each of these vaccines is important.

"These are life-threatening diseases we are protecting children against," she said. "Even chicken pox can be life threatening."

Nurses are urging parents not to wait till the last minute to get their child's immunizations.

"Very very important to get here early so you can get everything done on time," Harris said.

The nurses at the Richmond County Health Department are working with Georgia's GRITS system, which has immunization records for every child in the state.

"It allows us to stay current," Mitchell said. "When child walks in, we can look them up in the system."

By working faster, they're hoping to get every child vaccinated and taken care of in time for the first day of school.

The Richmond County Health Department will be providing vaccines Wednesday. Starting Aug. 1, the health department in Laney Walker will have extended hours opening up at 8 a.m. and staying open through 3 p.m. They will not close down for a two-hour lunch break like they usually do.

If you are planning a visit to the health department make sure you bring your child's immunization records, identification, insurance card and a form of payment.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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