HHS announces new initiative to increase COVID-19 vaccinations

December 14, 2022

HHS announces new initiative to increase COVID-19 vaccinations

MOBILE, Ala. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has announced a new $350 million initiative for HRSA-supported health centers to increase COVID-19 vaccines in their communities, with a specific focus on underserved populations.

Family Health, the primary care division of the Mobile County Health Department, was among 17 Alabama organizations to receive a share of the funding ($304,645). Other local Federally Qualified Health Centers receiving funds were AltaPointe’s Accordia Health & Wellness ($88,987), Franklin Primary Health Center ($356,314), and Mosteller Medical Center ($155,749).

This funding will support health centers administering updated COVID-19 vaccines through mobile, drive-up, walk-up, or community-based vaccination events, including working with community-based organizations, and other efforts to increase the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

“MCHD and Family Health provide equitable and quality health care to the vulnerable, marginalized, or discriminated members of our community,” said Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer. “We have all three vaccines available (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Novavax).” Information on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing can be found at www.MCHDcares.com or by calling 251-410-MCHD (6243).

“Community health centers save lives,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “We will continue to reach, vaccinate, and protect our most vulnerable people across the country working together with community health centers and community-based organizations. We have seen COVID infections increase in prior winters, and it does not have to be that way this year. We now have updated COVID-19 vaccines to protect communities against the Omicron strain. Our message is simple: Don’t wait. Get an updated COVID-19 vaccine this fall. It’s safe and effective.”

“As community-based organizations that have built deep relationships with their patients and neighborhoods, health centers are uniquely positioned to increase COVID-19 vaccinations,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “These funds will ensure that people who live in underserved communities have access to updated COVID-19 vaccines this winter through community-based vaccination events hosted by health care providers and organizations they trust.”

The nearly 1,400 HRSA-funded community health centers serve as a national source of primary care in underserved communities, providing services through more than 14,000 sites across the country. They are community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver affordable, accessible, and high-quality medical, dental, and behavioral health services to more than 30 million patients each year, with specific initiatives intended to reach people experiencing homelessness, agricultural workers, and residents of public housing.

In 2021, HRSA-funded health centers provided care for one-in-five residents in rural areas and one-in-eleven people nationwide. One-in-three health center patients are living in poverty, and nearly two-thirds are racial/ethnic minorities.