May 10, 2021
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the availability of nearly $1 billion for rural clinics and hospitals to strengthen COVID-19 response efforts and increase vaccinations in rural communities across the country. HHS will also increase the number of vaccines sent to rural communities, expand testing and other COVID-19 prevention services, and work to increase vaccine confidence by empowering trusted local voices with additional funding for outreach efforts in underserved communities.
In addition, approximately $250 million will be awarded to develop and support a community-based workforce who will serve as trusted voices sharing information about vaccines, work to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence, and address any barriers to vaccination for individuals living in vulnerable and medically underserved communities. This funding will help community-based organizations 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 and other needs to get to individuals to each of their vaccination appointments.