Bethesda, MD—The White House has announced a six-week campaign to invest $350 million in Community Health Centers to expand locally-driven vaccination efforts further. According to a White House fact sheet, the funding will enable health centers to ramp up vaccination events, such as mobile sites and community-based events. The focus is on avoiding thousands of preventable COVID-19 deaths among seniors and underserved communities as the holiday and winter season approaches.
“Community Health Centers save lives,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a press release issued by HHS. “We will continue to reach, vaccinate, and protect our most vulnerable people across the country working together with Community Health Centers and community-based organizations. We have seen COVID infections increase in prior winters, and it does not have to be that way this year. We now have updated COVID-19 vaccines to protect communities against the Omicron strain.”
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 of racial and ethnic minorities. The data show that there are fewer COVID-19 deaths and infections in areas of the country where there is a health center.
“We deeply appreciate the Biden Administration’s continued support and confidence in health centers to deliver results for their patients. Health centers have been on the front lines of COVID-19 for nearly three years, vaccinating hard-to-reach populations at pop-up sites, community events, on agricultural fields, schools, or churches, wherever there is a need,” said Rachel Gonzales-Hanson, NACHC Interim President & CEO. “This funding will be essential for health centers to continue their work and protect communities against another spread of the virus this winter.”
The Expanding COVID-19 Vaccination initiative will provide resources directly to health centers throughout the country to boost COVID-19 vaccinations and increase flu and childhood vaccinations through combined vaccination events. All HRSA-funded health centers and health center look-alikes that received American Rescue Plan funding will be eligible. The funds build on the previous investments in health centers to combat COVID-19 and will help even more Americans have access to updated COVID-19 vaccines.
About National Association of Community Health Centers
Established in 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) serves as the leading national voice for America’s Health Centers and as an advocate for health care access for the medically underserved and uninsured.