HHS Announces Significant Investments in Continued COVID-19 Response

This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the availability of over $1.25 billion from the recently enacted American Rescue Plan to support ongoing COVID-19 response activities nationwide. These investments include:

  • Rural COVID-19 Support: HHS has announced the availability of nearly $1 billion to strengthen COVID-19 response efforts and increase vaccinations in rural communities. The Biden-Harris Administration will increase the number of vaccines sent to rural communities, expand testing and other COVID-19 prevention services, and work to increase vaccine confidence. HRSA’s Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation Program will provide $460 million to more than 4,600 rural health clinics, as well as $398 million to existing grantees of the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) to work with approximately 1,730 small rural hospitals and critical access hospitals. Additionally, HRSA will make available nearly $100 million in grants to eligible rural health clinics nationwide to address health equity gaps. Additional information on HHS’ investments in rural areas is available here.
  • Community-Based Workforce for COVID-19 Vaccinations: HHS is additionally making available nearly $250 million to develop and support a community-based workforce who will serve as trusted messengers sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines, increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence, and address any barriers to vaccination for individuals living in vulnerable and medically underserved communities. The funding will support hiring and mobilizing community outreach workers, community health workers, social support specialists, and others to conduct on-the-ground vaccine outreach. Additional information is available here.