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White House announces $10B plan to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines

Crowds begin to arrive for their Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Crowds begin to arrive for their Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

March 25 (UPI) -- The White House announced Thursday that the Biden administration will spend $10 billion to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and build confidence in some of the most vulnerable communities in America.

The announcement detailed a series of several new actions aimed at getting Americans vaccinated and stemming the spread of the coronavirus disease in the United States. The White House called it a "historic" investment.

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"With funding in large part from the American Rescue Plan, the Department of Health and Human Services will invest nearly $10 billion to expand access to vaccines and better serve communities of color, rural areas, low-income populations, and other underserved communities in the COVID-19 response," the White House said in a statement.

"This funding will expand access to vaccines for vulnerable populations and increase vaccine confidence across the country."

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The funds will benefit federal vaccination sites nationwide, allow more vaccines to reach pharmacies and health centers and launch hundreds of mobile clinics to inoculate poor, rural and hard-to-reach areas.

The announcement also said the Health Resources and Services Administration will add funding to boost vaccinations at 1,400 centers nationwide next month.

"Equity is at the center of the administration's COVID-19 response," the White House added.

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"In the past two months, 60% of doses at federally-run community vaccination sites were administered to people of color. In the federal retail pharmacy program, 45% of sites were located in zip codes with high social vulnerability scores."

As part of the new measure, the government will spend $6 billion to expand vaccinations, testing and treatment for vulnerable populations and $3 billion for local government support.

About $300 million will go to support community health workers and $32 million is earmarked for training, technical assistance and evaluation.

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January 31, 2020
National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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