$350M HHS COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative

The Health Resources and Services Administration will provide $350 million to fund COVID-19 vaccination activities at community health centers, the Department of Health and Human Services agency said Tuesday.

The announcement comes a week after President Joe Biden asked Congress for the third time for more funding to fight COVID-19 to prepare for a winter surge, accelerate research into protracted COVID, develop new vaccines and treatments, and ease the transition. vaccines and therapeutics. to the commercial market. Congress was unable to provide the money previously requested by Biden due to objections from Republican lawmakers.

“These funds will ensure that people living in underserved communities have access to updated COVID-19 vaccines this winter through community-based vaccination events organized by healthcare providers and organizations they trust,” the HRSA administrator said in a press release. Carol Johnson.

Community health centers funded by HRSA and those that have received funding from American Rescue Plan are eligible to receive the money. The agency is urging health centers to increase hours of operation and place vaccines off-site, in addition to expanding transportation and translation services.

The nation’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign stalled due to high demand when the vaccines first became available to the general public last year.

More than 228 million people received their first two shots as of November 15, and 35.3 million people ages five and older received bivalent boosters, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 80% of the population received at least one dose, and 11.3% received all available vaccinations, including the last booster dose. On November 15, about 40,000 people received COVID-19 vaccines, compared to 1.6 million on the same date in 2021.

The country recorded 280,711 new cases of COVID-19 last week, with hospitalizations up 1.7% from the previous seven days, according to the CDC.

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