Biden administration puts $10 billion toward expanding COVID-19 vaccine access

Coronavirus Vaccine

Maryland residents receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine through the Anne Arundel County Department of Health at a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Metropolitan United Methodist Church March 23, 2021 in Severn, Maryland. Nearly 2.4 million vaccines have been administered in the state of Maryland to date, representing just over 20 percent of the state’s population. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden’s administration announced Thursday that it’s sending nearly $10 billion to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines to the “hardest-hit and highest-risk communities across the country.”

The administration broke down the massive investment, saying in a statement that $6 billion will go toward Community Health Centers to vaccinate underserved communities, $3 billion to strengthen vaccine confidence and $330 million to support community health workers.

The Biden administration also announced that Community Health Centers can now expand eligibility to the 1C tier, which includes essential workers and anyone age 16 and older with high-risk medical conditions.

“This means approximately 83% of the adults seen at Community Health Centers participating in the federal Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program will now be eligible for vaccinations,” the administration said.

It’s part of Biden’s push to ensure that all American adults will be eligible for vaccinations no later than May 1. His plan aims to get the country “closer to normal” by July 4.

The funding announced Thursday comes in part from Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan. Congress passed the measure, roughly along party lines, earlier this month, and Americans have begun receiving a key provision in the bill: up to $1,400 stimulus payments.

The investment will be administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Health Resources and Services Administration will begin providing more funding in April to nearly 1,400 community health centers across the U.S.

Roughly 1 in 5 people that visit Community Health Centers are living in rural communities, the administration said. More than 91% of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and more than 60% are racial or ethnic minorities, according to the U.S. government.

The administration also announced a new partnership with dialysis clinics to provide vaccinations to their patients and health care personnel. It’ll allow patients who typically visit their dialysis clinic three times a week for treatment to get vaccinated at their place of care.

According to the U.S. government, roughly 500,000 people across the country receive regular dialysis treatment.

“Kidney disease disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities as 34% of patients on dialysis are Black and 19% are Hispanic. People on dialysis who contract COVID-19 often have severe health outcomes and have a 50% hospitalization rate and a mortality rate between 20-30% from COVID-19,” the administration said.

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