As the vaccine rollout continues nationwide ahead of a pivotal May 1 wide-release target date, the Biden-Harris administration has announced a $10 billion investment aimed at ensuring vaccine access in the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities.
In a statement released by the White House Thursday, a rep for the administration said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—using funding in large part from the American Rescue Plan (also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package)—will commit nearly $10 billion to expand access to vaccines and “better serve” communities of color, rural areas, low-income populations, and other underserved communities.
Over the past two months, an estimated 60 percent of doses from federally-operated Community Vaccination sites have been administered to people of color. An estimated 45 percent of federal retail pharmacy program sites were ocean in areas determined by the CDC to have shown high social vulnerability scores. For Community Health Centers, more than 65 percent of the federally allocated doses of the vaccine have been administered to people of color.
However, as the statement makes clear, “there is more work to do.” And that’s what the Biden-Harris Administration said they were aiming to accomplish with the announcement of the new $10 billion investment. Roughly $6 billion will go toward Community Health Centers, helping them expand access to vaccines in underserved areas. Meanwhile, an estimated $3 billion will be put toward strengthening public confidence in the vaccine and another $330 million will go toward community health workers.
Earlier this month, Biden announced that he has directed all states, Tribes, and territories to make every adult in the U.S. vaccine-eligible no later than May 1.