BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded Alabama $44,304,458 to support local efforts to expand COVID-19 vaccine programs.
CDC leaders said the plan is to ensure greater equity and access to vaccine by those disproportionately affected by the virus.
The award is part of $3 billion in funding that CDC has 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.
“We are doing everything we can to expand access to vaccinations,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “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:
- 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; and,
- 60% must go to support local health departments, community-based organizations, and community health centers.
For example, 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 they can provide people who are receiving care with the information they need to get a free vaccination.
The Alabama Department of Public Health released the following statement on how they plan to use the funds:
This money will be used to fund strategies that ensure greater equity and access to COVID-19 vaccine by those disproportionately affected by COVID. Majority of the funding will focus on activities to ensure equity by identifying vulnerable populations and directing funds to specific programs and initiatives intended to increase access, acceptance, and uptake of COVID-19 vaccination. Those populations that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 include, but are not limited to: People in racial and ethnic minority groups (Non-Hispanic American Indian, Alaska Native, Non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic), People living in rural communities, People with disabilities, who are homebound or isolated, underinsured or uninsured, immigrants and/or refugees (No ID required), and People with transportation limitations. The remaining funds will support the original RFP to focus on the education/outreach and promotion of the COVID vaccine to persons of color – including African Americans, Native Americans, and the Hispanic communities in Alabama through grants/contract proposals by state-wide and local partners (including non-traditional providers) that serve high-risk and underserved populations.
For information on where funds will be distributed, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/php/funding-update.pdf