UPDATED: Virginia to receive $77.1 million from CDC to widen vaccine accessibility, ensure equity in distribution | Latest News

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Volunteer Kristen Beazley, of Chesterfield, helps Gurdip Randhawa schedule his next appointment during a vaccination effort on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at a Vaccination Clinic in Ashland, Virginia.

Here’s a look at the 15 Virginia localities with the most COVID-19 cases during the first 12 months of the pandemic.

Virginia is receiving $77.1 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help remove accessibility barriers limiting vaccine uptake and equitable distribution among the state’s most-affected populations, the federal agency announced Tuesday.

Only the 11 states with more doses delivered than Virginia, such as Texas, Florida and California — which was allotted the most at $357 million — received a greater portion of the $3 billion initiative to bolster federal efforts through the American Rescue Plan and CARES Act.

The CDC is requiring 60%, or about $46.3 million, be allocated to supporting local health departments, community organizations and health centers and 75% of the total funding to prioritize programs focused on vaccine access.

“[Virginia Department of Health] is currently soliciting input from local health districts about what they need to augment their vaccine hesitancy work on the ground,” said Dr. Danny Avula, the state’s vaccine coordinator, on Tuesday. “We are developing our program plan for submission to the CDC in the next couple of weeks.”

While specifics on management and local allocation will likely not be known until then, Avula said a portion of the funding will go toward bolstering existing undertaking in Black and Latino communities and addressing vaccine mistrust.

An already-identified need is community engagement in rural counties. Avula said this will likely become one of the greater hurdles to achieving herd immunity in May and June.

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