President Biden’s announcement on May 4 of a new effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and have 160 million adults fully vaccinated by July 4 includes nearly $1 billion for rural communities. The initiative is designed to provide easier access to vaccinations and testing for those living in rural communities and bolster efforts to reach rural Americans in the response to the pandemic.
While there are no specific timelines for the initiative, details include:
- Increasing Vaccine Education and Outreach Efforts in Rural Communities. Over $100 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding will be sent to approximately 4,600 rural health clinics across the country to support vaccine outreach in rural communities. This includes the approximately 157 provider-based rural health clinics in California. This funding will be used to assist rural residents in accessing vaccinations as well as education and outreach efforts around the benefits of vaccination.
- Increasing Funding for Rural Health Clinics and Hospitals to Respond to COVID-19 with Testing and Mitigation Measures. The Health Resources and Services Administration is providing nearly $860 million in ARP funding to help rural health clinics and rural hospitals broaden their COVID-19 testing and mitigation to slow the spread of the virus in their communities.
- Shipping New Allocations of Vaccine to Rural Health Clinics. The administration will send vaccines directly to rural health clinics in some of the most underserved communities. This initiative will include clinics in areas with a limited number of other vaccination sites and enhancing vaccine access in rural communities across the country.