The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have announced multiple grant programs in recent weeks aimed at improving equity in COVID-19 treatment and vaccine access. Counties may apply directly for these grant programs prior to the deadlines later this month.
On March 17, The CDC announced that the agency would be allocating $2.25 billion in grants to local governments to address health disparities and improve health equity among communities and populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The funding will be distributed directly to over 100 local health departments at both the state and county level and grants will range from $2 million to $35 million depending on the county population size. A list of eligible applicants and estimated funding award amounts can be found here. Applications for the grants are due April 30, 2021.
Earlier in March, the Biden Administration announced it would invest $250 million in local health measures to encourage health safety and increase awareness of vaccinations. The initiative, titled Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19, will fund about 30 projects in urban communities and 43 projects in rural communities for two years. HHS’ Office of Minority Health will accept applications through April 20, 2021.
On March 25, the White House also announced HHS would invest $6 billion into Community Health Centers to expand access to vaccines in underserved communities. Counties support more than 1,300 Community Health Centers that serve about 30 million people, the majority of whom live at or below the poverty line. The CDC also announced a $330 million investment to train and deploy additional healthcare workers for community health centers.
The March 25 announcement also detailed a separate program designed to strengthen vaccine confidence. The CDC will provide $3 billion from both the CARES Act and the recently passed American Rescue plan across 64 jurisdictions, of which 60 percent of funding must be allocated local health departments, to support efforts to increase vaccine equity. The funds, which will be administered through preexisting cooperative agreements with the CDC, will be dispersed in early April.
- NACo’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Toolkit
- NACo Blog: Biden administration unveils national vaccine strategy
- NACo Blog: Health legislation to focus on equity, social determinants of health