WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — One of the biggest challenges in COVID-19 vaccine distribution has been getting the shots to the people who need them most.
That’s why the Biden administration is launching a program to provide more vaccines directly to federally funded community health centers nationwide.
The Federally Qualified Health Center program will help millions of people across the country who rely on the centers for medical care. Two-thirds of the patients served by them live below the federal poverty line and 60% are minorities, the population hardest hit by the pandemic.
The program will be phased in, with the first centers able to start ordering vaccines as early as the week of February 15.
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The initial phase will include at least one community health center in each state, expanding to 250 centers in the coming weeks. They are still working to identify which centers will be included.
As supply increases, the program will expand to focus on:
- The homeless
- Public housing residents
- Migrant/seasonal agricultural workers
- Patients with limited English
The federal government also plans to ramp up the vaccine supply to states with 11 million doses each week, a 5% increase. That would bring the total increase to 28% since President Biden took office.
It’s part of the administration’s effort to deliver 100 million doses in 100 days.
There have been more than 26 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S. with over 462,000 deaths, according to the CDC.