WASHINGTON – The White House announced Thursday that it will allocate $ 10 billion, largely from the recently enacted American Rescue Plan, to expand access to vaccination for low-income, rural and minority communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
Much of the money, $ 6 billion, will go next month to 1,400 federally funded community health centers that care for patients at high risk of infection and death from the coronavirus.
The funds can be used to increase vaccinations, testing and treatment for those patients, as well as to improve general preventive care, improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units, according to the White House.
Another $ 3 billion, half of which comes from the Covid-19 aid package, will go to education and outreach programs by local health departments and community organizations to increase access to and acceptance of vaccination in communities. high-risk, the White House said. The money will go directly to the states and big cities for distribution.
The administration has been quick to accelerate the pace of vaccinations as new variants of the virus emerge, and the number of new cases appears to have increased slightly in recent days.
The United States has been administering about 2.5 million vaccines a day, and President Joe Biden is expected to announce a new target for the rate of vaccines during the first press conference of his presidency Thursday night.
His administration has already reached its initial goal of 100 million shots in its first 100 days, just over a month before its self-imposed deadline. While Biden has said there will be a sufficient supply of vaccines for all Americans by the end of May, he has not indicated how long he expects he will take those vaccines in his arms.
The funding efforts continue the Biden administration’s focus on increasing vaccinations among groups most affected by the coronavirus, including blacks and Latinos, who are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 compared to whites.
According to the White House, people of color have received 60 percent of the doses administered at federally administered vaccination sites, and 65 percent of the doses allocated to community health centers have gone to the People of color. Still, blacks and Latinos across the country have received a lower proportion of vaccinations compared to their proportion of the population, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
As part of the $ 6 billion for community health centers, the administration requests that the doses be available to all essential frontline workers and anyone over the age of 16 with high-risk medical conditions, which would include 83 per percent of adults served by the centers.
The administration is targeting $ 3 billion for vaccine outreach to a variety of groups, including faith-based organizations, housing and food assistance nonprofits, and bilingual community health organizations, to address issues from needs from transportation to door-to-door education and appointment scheduling.
It will also allocate $ 300 million for community health worker services to address disparities in access to other coronavirus-related services, such as testing and contact tracing, as well as broader health issues that increase the risk of complications from Covid- 19, as chronic diseases. , pregnancy and food insecurity.
Separately, the administration plans to allocate $ 100 million from the U.S. Rescue Plan to bolster the Medical Reserve Corps, the largest investment ever made in an army of fully volunteer doctors, nurses, and medical support teams seen as key to accelerating the Covid-19. vaccines, two administration officials said.