As soon as Monday, some federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) will be able to start ordering COVID-19 vaccines for administration to patients, under a “community health centers vaccination program” announced Tuesday by the Biden administration.
The administration said in a fact sheet that the health center program “is part of a broader effort to ensure all communities are being reached in the national push to get people vaccinated.” It said, “The program will be phased in, with the first centers able to start ordering vaccines as early as the week of February 15. The initial phase will include at least one Community Health Center in each state, expanding to 250 centers in the coming weeks.”
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) said that, once currently limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccine begin to increase, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “will support vaccination in additional targeted health centers.”
NACHC said its members “have already started vaccinating priority populations in many states. Getting direct allocations of the vaccines will help ramp up efforts already underway on the ground to ensure minorities and special populations are protected.”
The COVID-19 relief legislation that the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee is marking up today “invests $7.6 billion in Community Health Centers” during the current fiscal year, which is almost half over, according to a committee memo. The money is to be used for COVID-19 vaccine-related activities, COVID-19 tracking and tracing, equipment and staffing, community outreach, and “to modify, enhance, and expand health care services and infrastructure.”