HHS To Help Increase Vaccinations Among Older Adults, Disabled People

HHS To Help Increase Vaccinations Among Older Adults, Disabled People

March 30, 2021

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is set to expand the access to COVID-19 vaccines for older adults and people with disabilities following President Joe Biden’s announcement today.

The HHS will now partner the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to provide nearly $100 million in grants to aging and disability networks in every state and territory to boost vaccinations to this group.

This move is part of President Biden’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness to protect those most vulnerable.

With funding from CDC, ACL will issue nearly $93 million in grants to the aging and disability networks in every state and territory to provide vaccination to those most at risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19.

An additional $5 million will also be provided to fund national hotlines to assist older adults and people with disabilities in registering for a vaccination and to connect them with local disability and aging agencies.

Meanwhile, the HHS will work alongside advocates to help older adults and people with disabilities get the services and assistance they need in order to get vaccinated.

These grants will provide assistance with scheduling vaccine appointments, transportation to vaccine sites, direct support services for vaccinations, in-home vaccination options, and education about the importance of receiving the vaccine to older adults and people with disabilities.

Older adults are more likely to have a severe illness, be hospitalized, or die from COVID-19, with adults 65 and older accounting for 8 of every 10 COVID-19-related deaths. People with disabilities also often are at increased risk.

About one in five older adults and many people with disabilities may be unable to easily leave their homes and require either in-home vaccination or specialized arrangements to receive the vaccine.

The funding announced today will help address these barriers and ensure that older adults and people with disabilities can equitably access vaccines.

Last week, the Biden Administration also announced a series of actions to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines to the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities across the country. President Biden announced a target of administering 200 million COVID vaccine shots in people’s arms by his 100th day in office.

In mid-March, the Biden Administration announced an investment of $150 million to expand access to COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapeutic treatments for patients in vulnerable or underserved communities across the country to prevent hospitalizations and deaths.

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