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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — The Biden administration said on Thursday it would dedicate nearly $10 billion to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines for the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities and increase vaccine confidence across the country.
The Department of Health and Human Services will dedicate $6 billion from the COVID-19 economic relief law to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities and $3 billion to strengthen vaccine confidence, according to the White House. The funding will be made available starting in April.
HHS, through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will provide $300 million for community health worker services to support COVID-19 prevention and control and an additional $32 million for training, technical assistance, and evaluation, the White House said.
In addition to the funding, the administration is expanding eligibility for vaccines to patients served by community health centers to include frontline essential workers and people 16 years and older with high-risk medical conditions.
The Biden administration also announced a new partnership with dialysis clinics to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to people receiving dialysis and health care personnel in outpatient dialysis clinics.
The White House has continually stressed equity is at the center of their national vaccination effort and COVID-19 response. It has set up community vaccination centers in hard-hit areas, shipped vaccines directly to local pharmacies and launched hundreds of mobile clinics to meet people in their communities.
In the past two months, 60 percent of COVID-19 doses at federally-run community vaccination sites were administered to people of color, according to the White House. In the administration's retail pharmacy program, 45 percent of sites were located in zip codes with high social vulnerability scores, the White House said.
President Joe Biden has said all adults will be eligible for vaccines by May 1. If Americans continue to get vaccinated and follow health and safety guidelines, Biden said there is a "good chance" that family and friends will be able to celebrate the Fourth of July together in small groups.
The administration surpassed its goal of administering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots within Biden's first 100 days in office. The US has a 7-day average of administering about 2.5 million doses per day. A month ago, the 7-day average was about 1.5 million, according to a CNN analysis of CDC data.
More than 545,282 Americans have died from COVID-19 as of Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 130,400,000 vaccines have been administered in the US, according to the CDC. — Courtesy CNN
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