WASHINGTON – Following an announcement by the Biden Administration about the launch of the Federally Qualified Health Center program to provide additional COVID-19 vaccines to certain Community Health Centers (CHCs) nationwide, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prioritize Illinois CHCs in the next round of vaccine allotments. Illinois CHCs will be left out of the first round of this program, slated to begin this week with 25 CHCs nationwide receiving vaccines. In a letter to Acting Secretary of HHS Norris Cochran, Durbin and Duckworth made the case for Illinois to be prioritized in this program to address unconscionable racial and ethnic health disparities that have been compounded by the pandemic.

“We understand that the program is intended to supply additional vaccines to CHCs that serve significantly high numbers of individuals experiencing homelessness; public housing residents; migrant and seasonal agricultural workers; and patients with limited English proficiency. As you are no doubt aware, CHCs across Illinois serve these populations on a daily basis—and at among the highest rates in the country—and are in dire need of additional vaccine doses in order to safeguard the health of these vulnerable individuals. And while we appreciate the 28 percent increase in Illinois’ vaccine allocation over the past three weeks under this Administration’s leadership, additional federal resources are desperately needed,” the Senators wrote.

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The full text of the letter is available here

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