White House to spend $10 billion to boost COVID-19 shots in underserved areas, encourage vaccination

FILE PHOTO: National Guard personnel guide visitors to a mass vaccination site in Ridgefield

By Carl O'Donnell

(Reuters) - The White House on Thursday said it plans to spend $10 billion to expand COVID-19 vaccinations at community health centers around the United States and boost awareness and trust of COVID-19 vaccines, among other efforts.

The funding will largely come from the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus bill signed in March.

The administration will put $6 billion into expanding vaccinations, testing and treatment of COVID-19 at about 1,400 community health centers around the country.

It will also give health centers that are receiving vaccine doses directly from the federal government clearance to begin vaccinating frontline workers and all adults with serious existing health problems.

The White House in February began shipping shots vaccines to community health centers in a bid to increase availability, particularly in underserved communities.

It is also giving $3 billion to state and territorial governments, as well as some large cities, to help pay for local initiatives to boost vaccine uptake.

The White House is also partnering with kidney dialysis clinics to vaccinate people with severe kidney disease and is granting $330 million to help communities hire staff to assist in COVID-19 prevention and control.

(Reporting by Carl O'Donnell. Editing by Gerry Doyle)