Video of April Ikeda, a doctor lets a girl try her stethoscope.

A shot at a stress-free summer in Georgia

JUN 03, 2016
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If you’re a parent in Georgia, you can help minimize back-to-school stress by taking care of your children’s vaccinations this month.


“This is a great time to see the doctor. It’s relaxed, and you don’t have to deal with any start-of-school panic,” says Reneathia Baker, MD, a Georgia Region pediatric physician. “Why wait to get all those forms filled out, when you can do it early, mark it off the list, and simply enjoy your summer?”


Kids need different vaccinations according to their age


Each age group has its own list of vaccinations that parents can discuss with their doctors this summer. They include:


  • Pre-K students:
    • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine
    • Polio (IPV) vaccine
    • Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV) vaccine
  • Elementary school students, ages 610:
    • Flu vaccine (every year)
    • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (once children turn 9)
  • Pre-teens:
    • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) booster
    • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
    • Meningococcal (MCV4) vaccine
    • Flu vaccine (every year)
  • Teenagers:
    • Meningococcal (MCV4) booster
    • Flu vaccine (every year)
    • Other boosters, as needed

A full check-up for college students and athletes


If you’re the parent of a college student, Dr. Baker recommends “a full head-to-toe.” This would include:


  • Hearing and vision tests
  • A cholesterol screening
  • Any needed boosters, such as those for meningococcal disease (MCV4) or human papillomavirus (HPV)

Children who play school sports will need their physicals, too. And make sure you have all the needed forms ready before your kids hit the field.


What are vaccines and how do they work?


A vaccine is made from weakened or killed bacteria or viruses that cause a specific disease. When people get the vaccine, their immune systems make antibodies to fight that disease. In the event of exposure to that disease, these antibodies help the immune system prevent an infection.


Remember the facts about immunization:


  • Immunizations help prevent diseases that are still common in our communities.
  • Timely immunizations can help keep your child, your family, and the community healthy.

Take charge now to free up your summer


“It’s just so much better to do this earlier in the summer, instead of waiting those last two weeks, when everyone is trying to get an appointment,” says Baker. “Just make that appointment sooner than later.”


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