Washington — Theis committing $10 billion to efforts designed to ensure vaccines are being equitably distributed and boost confidence in the shots as the pace of vaccinations continues to accelerate, the White House announced Thursday.
The $10 billion in funding comes largely from the American Rescue Plan, the sweeping coronavirus aid packagethis month, and will be used by the Department of Health and Human Services to reach communities of color, rural areas, low-income populations and other underserved communities, according to the White House.
Of the $10 billion investment, $6 billion will go toward community health centers to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment for vulnerable populations, deliver health care services to populations at higher risk of serious illness from the coronavirus and boost the centers' operational capacity. The money will begin flowing to nearly 1,400 centers nationwide in April. Community health centers participating in a federal vaccine program can also expand eligibility for the shots, including to front-line essential workers and people over the age of 16 with high-risk medical conditions.
The Department of Health and Human Services will also dedicate $3 billion, going to states, territories and some cities, to assist local efforts to increase vaccine equity and reach hard-hit populations. Another $330 million is poised to go to community health worker services and is designed to address disparities in COVID-19 related services, such as testing, contact tracing and vaccines.
A new federal program will roll out to provide COVID-19 vaccinations directly to dialysis treatment centers to reach the 500,000 patients receiving regular dialysis treatment and health care workers in outpatient clinics.
While President Biden hashis goal of at least 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office, the White House said Thursday that "there is more work to do" to fight inequities in the people who have received their vaccines.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 130 million vaccines administered in the U.S., and 46.3 million people are fully vaccinated.
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