Florida awarded $194 million to expand COVID-19 vaccine efforts

75% of funding must focus on programs to increase access to vaccines among minorities

FILE - U.S. Army medic Kristen Rogers of Waxhaw, N.C. fills syringes with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in North Miami, Fla. Critics in Florida say a doctor’s signature required for some people to get vaccinated is adding onerous barriers for some eligible residents, especially low-income or minority people who may not have health insurance or access to a primary care doctor. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Marta Lavandier, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

Florida has been awarded more than $194 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to further expand coronavirus vaccinations in the Sunshine State, the CDC announced Tuesday.

The funding is part of $3 billion the CDC is distributing across 64 areas to boost vaccine distribution and access. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

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State’s awarded funding will need to use 75% of the funding on programs specifically designed to increase vaccine access and acceptance among racial and ethnic minority communities. The funding is also designed to help local health departments and community health centers.

According to a CDC news release, funds could be used to train members of the community to conduct door-to-door outreach to raise awareness about COVID-19 vaccines and help people sign up for appointments. The funding could also be used to hire community health workers perform bilingual outreach.

Florida is taking strides to reach out to communities without transportation or access to a nearby vaccine site through pop-up sites at local worship centers and door-to-door vaccinations.