As declared by commissioners, August will be known as National Immunization Awareness Month in Hays County to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.

"We encourage businesses, government agencies, community-based organizations and service groups to spread the immunization message throughout their communities," the Hays County proclamation states. "Being up to date protects them, their families and our community from preventable diseases."

Communities across the U.S. use the month of August each year to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

In 2016, 43,748 cases of those infected with vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. were reported, according to the latest CDC report.

In an effort to increase immunizations, the Hays County Local Health Department and Live Oak Health Partners Community Clinic have partnered to offer a week of free vaccinations for eligible children before the new school year begins.

Free vaccinations will take place Aug. 6-10 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at 401 Broadway St., San Marcos. Children of Hays County who qualify for the free vaccinations must be 18 years of age or younger, uninsured, underinsured, on Medicaid, or enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Children covered by insurance are also welcome to attend although they are not eligible for free vaccinations.

Children can receive their necessary immunizations and enjoy free games, snacks and prizes from local businesses. Parents will have the opportunity to gather information from organizations that will also be available to discuss services they provide for the community as well as get a few treats of their own. For information about the event or to check your child’s eligibility, call 512-393-5520.