People wait outside a COVID-19 vaccine distribution center at the Kedren Community Health Center on January 28, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images
The White House will begin shipping doses of Covid-19 vaccine doses directly to state-qualified community health centers next week in an effort to extend coverage to traditionally underserved communities, Jeff Zients, White House Response Coordinator for Covid-19, announced Tuesday .
“Justice is at the core of our strategy to move out of this pandemic, and justice means reaching out to everyone, especially those in underserved and rural communities,” Zients said. “But we cannot do this effectively at the federal level without our partners at the state and local levels sharing the same commitment to justice.”
Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Chair of the White House’s Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force, noted that there are more than 1,300 community health centers across the country serving nearly 30 million people.
“Two-thirds of their patients live at or below the federal poverty line, and 60% of patients in community health centers identify as racial or ethnic minorities,” she noted. “Justice is our north star here. These efforts, which focus on direct referral to community health centers, are really about connecting with hard-to-reach populations across the country.”
Upon launching the program, the White House plans to send 1 million doses to at least one center in each state, Nunez-Smith said, adding that it plans to expand to 250 centers in the coming weeks.
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