White House announces $10B vaccine access effort aimed at hard-hit communities
Much of the money, $6 billion, will go out next month to 1,400 federally funded community health centers that serve patients at high risk of infection and death from the coronavirus.
The funds can be used to increase vaccinations, testing and treatment for those patients, as well as improve overall preventive care, by improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units, according to the White House.
The administration has been racing to pick up the pace of vaccinations as new variants of the virus emerge and as the numbers of new cases have appeared to tick up slightly in recent days.
The U.S. has been giving around 2.5 million shots a day, and President Joe Biden is expected to announce a new goal for the pace of vaccinations during the first news conference of his presidency later Thursday.
The funding efforts continue the Biden administration’s focus on increasing vaccinations among groups hardest hit by the coronavirus, including Black people and Latinos, who have been twice as likely to die from Covid-19 compared to white people.
As part of the $6 billion for community health centers, the administration is asking that doses be made available to all front-line essential workers and anyone over age 16 with high-risk medical conditions, which would include 83 percent of adults the centers serve.
The administration is targeting the $3 billion for vaccine outreach at a variety of groups, including faith-based organizations, food and housing assistance nonprofits and bilingual community health organizations, to address issues from transportation needs to door-to-door education and appointment scheduling.
It will also direct $300 million for community health worker services to address disparities in access to other coronavirus-related services, like testing and contact tracing, as well as broader health issues that increase the risk of complications from Covid-19, such as chronic diseases, pregnancy and food insecurity.
Shannon Pettypiece is the senior White House reporter for NBCNews.com.