CDC awards SC COVID-19 vaccine program expansion over $47 million

CDC awards SC COVID-19 vaccine program expansion over $47 million
The CDC says they hope the award will expand COVID-19 vaccine programs and ensure greater equity and access to vaccines by those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. (Source: Houston Dept. of Health via CNN)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they have awarded South Carolina $47,187,039 to support local efforts to increase vaccine uptake.

The CDC says they hope the award will expand COVID-19 vaccine programs and ensure greater equity and access to vaccines by those disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The award is part of $3 billion in funding that the CDC says they have granted to 64 jurisdictions to bolster broad-based vaccine distribution, access, and administration efforts.

The funding was made available by the American Rescue Plan and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the CDC says it will provide critical support through existing immunization cooperative agreements in communities around the country.

“We are doing everything we can to expand access to vaccinations,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said. “Millions of Americans are getting vaccinated every day, but we need to ensure that we are reaching those in the communities hit hardest by this pandemic. This investment will support state and local health departments and community-based organizations as they work on the frontlines to increase vaccine access, acceptance, and uptake.”

To ensure health equity and expanded access to COVID-19 vaccines the CDC says 75% of the total funding must focus on specific programs and initiatives intended to increase vaccine access, acceptance, and uptake among racial and ethnic minority communities.

Additionally they say 60% must go to support local health departments, community-based organizations, and community health centers.

For example, the CDC says funds could be used to identify and train trusted members of the community to conduct door-to-door outreach to raise awareness about COVID-19 vaccines and help individuals sign up for appointments.

Funds may also be used to support hiring community health workers who perform culturally-competent bilingual health outreach so the CDC says they can provide people who are receiving care with the information they need to get a free vaccination.

The CDC says they plan to award more than $250 million to community-based organizations serving minority or underserved communities to support their COVID-19 outreach efforts, including connecting members of the community with health services and vaccinations.

Through the Health Resources and Services Administration, the health department will invest more than $6 billion from the American Rescue Plan into Community Health Centers nationwide to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations.

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