WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House announced a $10 billion investment Thursday to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines in the nation’s hardest hit and highest-risk communities.
The investment from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be funded in large part from the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion relief bill passed earlier this month.
Officials hope to expand access and build confidence in the vaccines in communities of color, rural areas, low-income populations, and other underserved groups.
The Biden administration says more than $6 billion of the funding will be invested into community health centers across the country to expand vaccinations, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations.
The money will also be used to deliver preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for COVID-19, as well as expand centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, according to the administration.
Officials say they’ll begin providing funding to nearly 1,400 centers starting April.
Along with investing in community health centers, the administration says it’s spending about $3 billion of the funding to strengthen vaccine confidence, increasing vaccine uptake and equity.
“This funding will go directly to states, territories, and some large cities, enabling them to support local health departments and community-based organizations in launching new programs and initiatives intended to increase vaccine access, acceptance, and uptake,” the administration said.
Lastly, officials say they’ll provide around $300 million to jurisdictions for community health worker services to support COVID-19 prevention and control, as well as an additional $32 million for training, technical assistance, and evaluation.
“This funding will be used to address disparities in access to COVID-19 related services, such as testing, contact tracing, and vaccinations, and it will help address factors that increase risk of severe COVID-19 illness such as chronic diseases, pregnancy, and food insecurity,” said the administration.