The White House recently unveiled a COVID-19 Winter Preparedness Plan to make vaccinations, testing and treatment even more widely available as cases surge. One feature of their plan jumpstarts a partnership with the U.S. Postal Service to mail free at-home COVID tests to households. The plan also calls for “additional resources to Community Health Centers and aging and disability networks to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts.”
Activities include building vaccine trust and vaccine adherence
The Biden Administration is concerned about a notable rise in COVID, flu and respiratory infections as winter sets in. The announcement comes on the heels of $350 million in one-time funding to health centers to boost COVID-19 vaccinations in their communities, with a specific focus on underserved populations. Health centers can use the funds to expand:
- outreach and education
- community engagement
- coordinated events to increase COVID-19 vaccinations through mobile, drive-up, walk-up, or community-based vaccination events, including working with community and faith-based organizations
The funding will support vaccine administration of the updated COVID-19 vaccine, the COVID-19 primary series and/or other (e.g., influenza) vaccines. The expanded COVID funding allows health centers to continue efforts to form new or strengthen current on-the-ground partnerships with other entities to build vaccine trust and vaccine adherence. It is this particular aspect of health centers’ work that strengthens the public health infrastructure — filling health gaps, meeting people where they are and bringing preventive services to them.
Deadline for health centers to submit information
Health centers have until Sunday, January 8, 2023, to submit information about planned activities and costs that the funding will support. There’s a technical assistance webpage for award submission guidance.
Health centers have played a pivotal role in fighting COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. They have provided services to the nation’s most at-risk, medically underserved communities, administering more than 22 million vaccines, of which 70 percent have gone to patients who are racial and ethnic minorities.