Health director: Get your shots!

Summertime vaccinations encouraged for everyone

JONESBORO — People usually think of beach balls, bikinis and getting a great tan when they think of summer.

Perhaps they should also think about mumps, measles and rubella.

The latest Clayton County Board of Health newsletter contains a letter from Clayton County District Health Director Dr. Alpha Fowler Bryan where she is encouraging residents to consider getting routine vaccinations this summer.

“The summer is a great time to get in shape, travel, revisit personal hobbies and spend time with your family,” Bryan wrote in her letter. “It is also a great time to get yourself and your family up to date on vaccinations.”

Bryan wrote that Clayton County had a 84.6 percent up-to-date immunization rate for children under 2 in 2011. That is higher than the state’s 82.4-percent rate, she wrote. She pointed out that Georgia children are required by law to be up to date on their vaccinations for preventable diseases including measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough if they are attending a public school.

Children are not the only focus of Bryan’s letter, however. She also encouraged adults to use the summer to get caught up on their shots.

“As we age, unvaccinated adults become susceptible to a number of serious diseases including diphtheria, herpes zoster [shingles], influenza and tetanus,” she wrote.

Bryan encouraged people to visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html to find vaccination schedules the U.S. Centers for Disease control and Prevention created for all age groups from infancy until adulthood.

“Staying up to date on your vaccinations is a great way to ensure that you and your family are protected from diseases, not just throughout the summer, but throughout the year,” Bryan wrote.