HHS Recognizes One-Year Anniversary of Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program to Advance Equity in Pandemic Response

Health centers have administered more than 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognized the one-year anniversary of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program, which received funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and has provided COVID-19 vaccines directly to thousands of HRSA-supported health center sites nationwide. To date, health centers have administered more than 20 million vaccines in underserved communities across the country through the HRSA program and partnerships with states.

“Health centers are not only cornerstones of our communities but they have been critical to our nation’s COVID-19 response,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Because of the tireless efforts of health centers over the past year, especially through the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program, anyone who wanted a COVID-19 vaccine was able to get one free of charge no matter where they lived, including those in underserved communities. We are indebted to the frontline workers and staff at health centers across the country for saving lives, keeping our families healthy and ensuring our pandemic response was more equitable.”

Since the launch of this program, health centers have held nearly 60,000 community-based vaccination events in partnership with local community-based organizations, including schools, community centers, faith-based organizations, and have used mobile vans to bring vaccines to the community. These efforts were supported, in whole or in part, by the American Rescue Plan’s historic $7.6 billion investment in health centers to prevent, mitigate, and respond to COVID-19, as well as retain essential health care providers, maintain and expand services, and improve health care facilities and equipment. This will better protect communities from future pandemics and other health threats.

“Across the country, health centers have made equitable access to COVID-19 vaccination a reality for communities most in need while continuing to provide other critically needed health services,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “These health center efforts have narrowed racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 care and services yet the nation’s work on vaccination, testing and treatment remains at risk without additional funding.”

The Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program was developed to further ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines in the nation’s underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The majority of doses administered by health centers have been provided to individuals from racial and ethnic minority populations.

Building on the successful implementation of the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program, HRSA launched the HRSA COVID-19 Testing Supply Program, the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 Therapeutics Program, and the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program. Together, these COVID-19 Response Programs ensure people in some of the hardest hit communities have access to tools that can mitigate the spread and impact of the virus. These programs have also served to strengthen partnerships and coordination efforts between health centers and states, localities, and other jurisdictions nationwide.

HRSA-supported health centers include HRSA-funded health centers and Health Center Program look-alikes that provide comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services consistent with Health Center Program requirements.  Health centers are community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver affordable, accessible, high-quality, and cost-effective primary health care to nearly 29 million patients each year. The more than 1,400 health centers in our country serve as a national source of primary care for underserved communities. More than 90 percent of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (about $46,000 per year for a family of three in most states) and approximately 62 percent are racial/ethnic minorities.

To view health center COVID-19 vaccination data, visit: https://data.hrsa.gov/topics/health-centers/covid-vaccination.

To see more data about health centers’ role in combatting COVID-19, visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/emergency-response/coronavirus-health-center-data.

To locate a HRSA-funded health center, visit: https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov.

Originally published at https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/03/21/hhs-recognizes-one-year-anniversary-of-health-center-covid-19-vaccine-program-advance-equity-pandemic-response.html

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