More than $11 million in federal funding has been allocated for health clinics in Santa Barbara County to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and support testing and treatment for vulnerable communities.
The money is coming from the American Rescue Plan signed into law earlier this month as part of a $6 billion nationwide investment to help health centers expand vaccine access to communities of color, in rural areas, to low-income populations and others considered underserved, said Sen. Alex Padilla, D-San Fernando Valley.
Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has been allocated just over $5.2 million for its community health clinics, and a little more than $4.9 million will go to Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics.
American Indian Health & Services Corp. will receive just over $1.5 million of the nearly $1 billion going to 175 community health centers in California.
Health Resources and Services Administration is scheduled to distribute the funds this month, Padilla said.
American Rescue Plan money will be used by the clinics to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for COVID-19; and expand health centers’ operational capacity, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units
“We cannot turn the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic until vaccines are widely distributed and accessible everywhere,” Padilla said. “By providing nearly $1 billion to California Community Health Centers, we can get shots to our hardest-hit and hardest-to-reach communities.”
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