You Can Finally Get Your COVID Vaccine From Here Starting Next Week
Your opportunities are about to expand.
Now nearly two months into the U.S.'s COVID vaccination program, we're still facing an accessibility struggle—not only is there a supply issue preventing many Americans from getting vaccinated, but there's also the challenge of how to get the COVID vaccine to remote locations across the country. But this week, there was a major step forward in that regard with the announcement that the White House will begin to send some of its vaccine supply directly to community health centers.
"Community health centers are an important part of our broader strategy to ensure we are reaching everyone with our response," White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said at a Feb. 9 press briefing. "Today's announcement about utilizing the community health centers is part of a multi-pronged strategy to reach all Americans."
For the full details on this latest announcement, read on, and for more on where else you might be able to get your shot soon, check out You'll Be Able to Get Vaccinated at Any Walgreens by This Date.
Vaccines will be going directly to community health centers, instead of to state governments first.
The White House announced that vaccines will be sent directly to 250 community centers nationwide next week. Under normal circumstances, drugs are first sent to state governments who then distribute them to community health centers and other locations. But in order to expedite the process and get the vaccine to underserved Americans, the White House is bypassing local government. And for more on how the situation with the virus is looking where you live, find out How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.
Community health centers in all 50 states will be getting shipments.
The first shipment includes a total of 1 million vaccine doses—500,000 first doses and 500,000 second doses—and will include at least one community health center in each state and territory.
"The Federally Qualified Health Centers also in our initial ramp-up really are ones that serve more than 2,000 individuals 65 and older and have large population size," Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, Chair of the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, said at the Feb. 9 briefing. "So, really, ones that are able to handle, kind of, the increased capacity, particularly around the vaccine storage and staffing, and with a mix of urban and rural."
Eventually the program will expand, Nunez-Smith noted. "As the program further scales, vaccines will become available to all 1,400 community health centers across states and territories should they want to participate," she said. And for more COVID news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
These community health centers serve some of the most vulnerable Americans.
Community health centers work with homeless people, migrant workers, public housing tenants, and those with limited proficiency in English. These centers across the country serve more than 30 million people, around two-thirds of whom live at or below the federal poverty line. As Nunez-Smith said at the briefing, "This effort that focuses on direct allocation to the community health centers really is about connecting with those hard-to-reach populations across the country."
Zients added: "Equity is core to our strategy to put this pandemic behind us, and equity means that we are reaching everyone, particularly those in underserved and rural communities and those who have been hit hardest by this pandemic." And for more news from those involved in the vaccine rollout, check out The Johnson & Johnson CEO Just Made This Unsettling Prediction About COVID.
Vaccinating everyone is key to stopping the pandemic.
While a lot of headlines have focused on the number of vaccines being administered, just as important is who they are going to. Gavi, the international vaccine alliance organization, has referenced the slogan, "No one is safe until everyone is safe," which has become a common refrain throughout the global vaccine distribution process. "If the virus survives anywhere, no one can be safe from the impact of the pandemic," they explain.
Zients reinforced this point at the White House briefing, noting that vaccinating Americans fairly would lead to better long-term results for everyone. "Efficiency and equity are both central to what we're doing," he said. "And I don't see any trade-off between the two—I think they go hand in glove." And for more on what to expect after your shot, check out Dr. Fauci Said He Had Pain in These 2 Places After the COVID Vaccine.