US Funds $250 Million to Create New Vaccination Workforce
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the availability of approximately $250 million to develop and support a community-based vaccination workforce.
Announced on May 4, 2021, this new workforce will serve as trusted voices sharing information about vaccines, increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence, and address any barriers to vaccination for individuals living in vulnerable and medically underserved communities.
According to HHS, this funding will help community-based organizations to hire and mobilize community outreach workers, community health workers, social support specialists, and others to conduct on-the-ground outreach to educate and assist individuals in getting the information they need about vaccination, help make vaccine appointments, and assist with transportation needs.
“Increasing public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and boosting uptake remains a critical part of our fight against this virus,” commented HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a press statement.
“Today’s funding is critically important for connecting vulnerable and underserved communities with trusted health voices who can help deliver vaccinations and information to keep them safe and protect their loved ones.”
Previously, HHS had established the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination, a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories, and 21 national pharmacy partners and thousands of independent pharmacies to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination across the USA.
The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program is designed to leverage the strength and expertise of pharmacy partners to help rapidly vaccinate the American public.
As a result, about 90% of Americans have vaccine access through a community pharmacy within five miles of where they live – including in some of the nation’s hardest-hit and highest-risk communities.
“The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is uniquely suited to oversee this effort because of its long-standing mission and programs that work every day to improve health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable,” said Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa.
“Through HRSA’s Community-Based Workforce for COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Program, recipients will partner with community organizations to serve populations that have historically suffered from poorer health outcomes, health disparities, and other inequities.”
Approximately ten award recipients will be funded by the $250 million funding to engage with multiple organizations regionally and locally, including with community-based organizations, health centers, minority-serving institutions, and other health and social service entities.
Currently, the U.S. FDA has Authorized three COVID-19 vaccines.
On May 10, 2021, the U.S. CDC reported 114,375,695 people over 18 years of age had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This data represents about 44.3% of the US population.
The second funding opportunity will be released shortly and will focus on smaller community-based organizations.
To apply for the Community-Based Workforce for COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Program Notice of Funding Opportunity, visit Grants.gov. Applications are due May 18, 2021. HHS Frequently Asked Questions are published on this webpage. HHS is located at 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes research-based vaccine news.