Community Health Centers getting extra help for vaccine distribution

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Community health centers in Ohio are getting some extra help in vaccinating the populations they serve via federal awards.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than $160 million is headed to Ohio beginning in April “to support and expand COVID-19 vaccination, testing and treatment for vulnerable populations,” as well as helping with preventive and primary health care services and expand operations at health centers.

“This investment will help increase access to vaccinations among hard-hit populations, as well as confidence in the vaccine by empowering local, trusted health professionals in their efforts to expand vaccinations,” a release from HHS stated.

The funding is awarded through the Health Resources and Services Administration, and national data from the HHS shows 91% of patients using community health centers live at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, and 63% are minorities.

In Ohio, of the populations community health centers serve, 53% are on Medicaid, 52.9% live in public housing, 14.5% are uninsured and 20.6% are homeless, according to the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers.

In February, the Biden administration announced they would be feeding supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine directly to community health centers.

Of the 51 health centers receiving funding, $11 million is going to the Columbus Neighborhood Health Care, Inc., also known as PrimaryOne Health which has five health centers across the city.

The City of Cincinnati’s will receive nearly $10 million and HealthSource of Ohio, Inc., in Loveland, is set to receive more than $9 million.

One year ago this week, community health centers received a boost via CARES Act funding, though a significantly lower total of $3.2 million statewide.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.