WASHINGTON— Recently, Department of Health and Human Services announced that they have invited El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson and Sunset Community Health Center in Yuma to participate as an initial cohort of 250 health centers across the country to directly receive vaccines through HRSA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program. The initiative was launched by President Biden earlier this month to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equitably distributed to the communities most impacted by the virus. The vaccine allotments are in addition to and separate from the state allocations. Additionally, the Biden Administration announced that it was increasing the number of vaccine doses to states to 13.6 million doses from 11 million doses.
“Latino communities and those of low-income have been the hardest hit by the virus here in Southern Arizona,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. “El Rio Health and Sunset Community Health Centers provide incredible medical care to many of Southern Arizona’s most vulnerable residents. They are trusted providers for thousands of families, and I am pleased the Biden Administration has enlisted their help to distribute the vaccine to those in our community who need it the most. Mass vaccination is the best way to get through this pandemic, and this partnership ensures that those communities most impacted by the virus are not left behind.”
According to the White House, Community Health Centers serve over 30 million people in the United States. Sixty percent of those served are people of color and two-thirds are living at or below the poverty line.
“Our El Rio Team is so pleased to receive this great news,” said El Rio Health CEO Nancy Johnson. “Community Health Centers locally and nationally are created to efficiently and effectively reach our patients most in need and to overcome barriers to needed preventative care. This much needed vaccine will help us increase the number of patients vaccinated in the coming weeks.”
“Sunset is thrilled to be a part of this program,” said Sunset Health CEO David Rogers. “Vaccines received through this direct program will help us give patients 65 and older and farmworkers access to the COVID-19 vaccine. This will be an additional source for much needed vaccine to inoculate vulnerable and underserved populations being served in Yuma County, Arizona.”