COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The Health Department is advising parents to get their children vaccinated as National Infant Immunization Week is being observed from April 24 to 30.

According to the West Central Health District of Georgia, childhood vaccines are up to 95 percent effective against diseases and are available free of cost even if parents do not have medical insurance.

Health officials say infants and children can be protected from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and 10 other vaccine-preventable diseases by following current immunization schedules.

CDC report released in May 2020 found a drop in routine childhood vaccinations as a result of families staying at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “This week can remind parents to get back on track and update their child’s vaccines,” said Colethia Moore, RN, District Immunization Coordinator, for the West Central Health District.

No appointment is needed for immunizations. For children who do not have insurance coverage for vaccines, or whose parents/guardians may not be able to afford vaccines, an assistance program called Vaccines for Children, is available.

The Columbus Health Department is providing parents with a few complementary baby items after their child receives their vaccines.

To find the current child and adolescent vaccine schedule, visit the CDC website.