FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2021
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PACHC Comments on Expanded Eligibility; Existing Supply of COVID-19 Vaccine Statewide
HARRISBURG – Cheri Rinehart, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers’ (PACHC) responds to the announcement of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to ensure that the nation’s hardest hit populations are receiving the vaccine by launching the first phase of the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Program for COVID-19 Vaccination.
“We are excited that the Biden-Harris Administration recognizes the valuable role of FQHCs in providing primary care services, including vaccination, in underserved communities across Pennsylvania and across the country. Two-thirds of the population that FQHCs serve are living at or below the federal poverty line and 60% are racial and/or ethnic minorities, populations disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”
“While we applaud the administration’s efforts, patience is still warranted because vaccine supply remains inadequate to meet eligibility and demand. According to the administration, the program to directly distribute vaccine to FQHCs will be slowly phased in, with limited supply. Initially, only 25 health centers across the country will receive direct distribution of vaccine, and none of these health centers is in Pennsylvania. The following several weeks, vaccine will be sent directly to 250 of the nation’s 1,400 FQHCs and we don’t yet know if that includes any Pennsylvania health centers.”
“Health centers across the Commonwealth are working diligently to meet the vaccination needs of their vaccine-eligible healthcare partners, patients, and community members, and are working to do so as quickly and as safely as possible within the constraints of current supply. Our goal is to help each health center meet the needs of the communities they serve.”
“As production and distribution ramp up, we look forward to offering vaccination to more eligible individuals and to continue doing our part to make Pennsylvania communities safer.”
“We urge anyone calling to inquire about scheduling for a COVID-19 vaccine to be patient as we all work to effectively manage the administration of vaccine. We are confident that the process will continue to improve as additional vaccine supply becomes available.”
The Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC) is a statewide membership services organization representing Community Health Centers – the largest primary care network in Pennsylvania and the nation – rural health clinics and other safety net providers that care for more than 917,000 Pennsylvanians at over 330 delivery sites in rural and urban communities across the Commonwealth. Visit www.pachc.org or call 1-(866) 944-CARE to find a Community Health Center near you.