Indiana gets $60.8M in federal funds to support vaccines for underserved populations

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By Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star

Indiana will receive about $60.8 million in federal funds aimed at expanding vaccination equity, according to a news release from the Centers for Disease Control.

The funds will be used with an eye to encouraging vaccination and ensuring equity and access to vaccines for communities that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted. The money will help programs such as door-to-door outreach to raise awareness about vaccinations or help people sign up to be vaccinated.

The money is part of a $3 billion purse distributed among 64 jurisdictions.

Indiana will receive a total of $60,831,341, according to the news release. The funding comes from 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky in the news release. “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.”

While Black people comprise about 9.4% of Indiana’s population over the age of 16, Black residents comprise about 5% of those who have been vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard. Latino people comprise 6.2% of the state’s population and 2.4% of those who have been vaccinated.

Three quarters of the federal funds must go to support programs that encourage vaccine access and uptake among racial and ethnic minority communities, while 60% must support local health departments and community organizations.

The CDC plans to dole out more than $250 million to community organizations working to connect individuals with vaccines and health services, according to the news release.  The Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human services will give out another $250 million to encourage vaccination in underserved communities.

HHS is also investing more than $6 billion into community health centers around the country to expand COVID-19 vaccines and testing, according to the news release.

This article originally appeared in the IndyStar.

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