By Nick Nunn staff writer

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has announced two new immunization requirements for incoming seventh graders born on Jan. 1, 2002, or later and all eighth to 12th graders new to Georgia schools. Before beginning classes in August, students fitting those criteria will be required to receive immunizations for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap), as well as meningitis. Proof of the immunizations must be documented by a Georgia Immunization Certificate (Form 3231), which can be obtained from a physician’s office for the health department. The required immunizations are available at the Morgan County Health Department at 2005 South Main Street, Suite 200, Madison. The Morgan County Health Department is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays.

The Health Department can be reached at 706-752-1266 for more information. According to a DPH release on the new vaccination requirements, neither proof of having the diseases in the past nor immunity tests will be able to replace the immunization requirement. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends other immunizations that are not required, such as seasonal influenza vaccinations and human papillomavirus infection vaccinations. The optional vaccinations can be given along with the required immunizations. For more information on the required and optional vaccinations, as well as the state’s vaccination policies, visit the DPH website at dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section.