White House to spend $10 billion to bolster vaccine effort

Health

President Joe Biden holds a face mask as he speaks during an event to mark Equal Pay Day in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House announced Thursday that it is dedicating another $10 billion to try to drive up vaccination rates in low-income, minority and rural enclaves throughout the country.

The effort, which is funded through the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed earlier this month, will include $6 billion in funding for community health centers to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and other preventive health care for populations at higher risk for the virus.

President Joe Biden’s administration, which will start distributing the money in April to nearly 1,400 centers across the country, said health centers can also use the funding to modify and improve infrastructure and add mobile units.

In addition, the Biden administration said it is allotting $3 billion to bolster “vaccine confidence.” The money, which will be parceled out to 64 jurisdictions, can be used by rural, faith-based organizations and by food assistance and housing nonprofits in high-poverty communities to conduct door-to-door outreach and education efforts to urge eligible people to schedule vaccination appointments.

Some of the funding will also be spent to help dialysis clinics provide COVID-19 vaccinations to people receiving dialysis and health care personnel in the clinics.

About $300 million is earmarked for community health worker services to support COVID-19 prevention and control, and an additional $32 million is for training, technical assistance and evaluation, the White House said.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 545,000 people in the United States, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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