On January 15, President Biden and his administration unveiled the outline for a national COVID-19 vaccination strategy, which seeks to address challenges faced by local governments in distributing the vaccine. This five-part plan outlines key actions that the Biden Administration will work to take at the federal level to aid the efficient and equitable vaccination of U.S. residents. Such actions include:
- Increasing the number of vaccinations by encouraging states to open vaccine availability to other priority groups and ensuring an equitable distribution by targeting resources to hard-hit, marginalized, and medically underserved communities.
- Leveraging federal agency resources to create more local vaccination sites, through the development of mobile vaccination clinics that will reach underserved urban areas and rural communities; and the formation of partnerships with pharmacies and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).
- Increasing the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to be deployed as quickly as possible through the enactment of the Defense Production Act.
- Mobilizing additional personnel to get more shots in arms with a commitment to invest in 100,000 new public health workers that will work in their communities and provide vaccine outreach and contact tracing services, as well as long term support to address ongoing threats to public health.
- Launching a public education campaign to improve vaccine confidence in the general public.
The announcement of this plan followed the release of President Biden’s $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package, the American Rescue Plan, which proposed the addition of $20 billion in funds to state, local and tribal governments for vaccine deployment. The proposed funding would be in addition to the $8.75 billion in vaccine distribution funds recently allocated by Congress in the latest COVID-19 funding package.
The Biden Administration has taken immediate steps to enact these proposals in the first hours following the inauguration, however further action will need the support of Congress. Counties applaud both the introduction of the American Rescue Plan and the components of the national vaccination strategy, and we call on Congress to implement this plan, which will provide needed resources and support for counties during this critical time. NACo will continue work in partnership with the Biden Administration and advocate for additional federal support for counties while also monitoring, tracking and reporting on COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution updates.
- Biden COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Fact Sheet
- NACo Legislative Analysis for Counties: President-Elect Biden’s COVID-19 Resource Plan
- NACo’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Toolkit