The White House announced last week that it would be investing $10 billion to expand Covid-19 vaccine access in hard-hit and high-risk communities, including rural communities across the country.
The Biden-Harris administration said that it was increasing its efforts to get vaccines into rural communities and to educate residents about the drugs’ safety and efficacy.
“The president has set up federally-run community vaccination centers in hard-hit areas; sent vaccines directly to local pharmacies and Community Health Centers that disproportionately serve vulnerable populations; launched hundreds of mobile clinics to meet people where they are; and created the Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force,” the administration said in a release. “But there is more work to do. That is why we’re doubling down on the progress we are seeing through federal programs.”
The administration’s plan includes $6 billion from the American Rescue Plan to expand Covid-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment in Community Health Centers. The money, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will also be used to expand the health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond. Starting on April 1, the administration said, the Health Resources and Services Administration would provide funding to nearly 1,400 centers across the country. The centers serve one in five people in rural communities.
More than $3 billion will be awarded to local communities to increase the number of people who will take the vaccine. Those awards will go directly to states and territories, so that they can support local health departments and community-based organizations launching new initiatives to increase vaccine acceptance.
The administration said it would invest $330 million to support community healthcare workers. That funding, the administration said, could be used to address the disparities in access to Covid-19 related services, like testing, and contact tracing. The money could also be used to address factors that increase risk of severe Covid-19 illness like chronic diseases, pregnancy and food insecurity. The administration said it was also working with dialysis clinics to provide vaccinations to their patients.