Working with the White House to Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Access
WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Joe Biden recently announced a series of executive actions to ensure more people, including Black Americans, get the COVID-19 vaccine. With funding made available through the American Rescue Plan, P.L., 117-2, a law strongly supported by U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03), the White House will invest $10 billion to improve access to vaccines and better serve communities of color, rural areas, low-income populations, and other at-risk Americans.
Included in Biden’s initiative is a proposal spearheaded by Beatty to launch a new program to vaccinate dialysis patients and healthcare professionals working in outpatient dialysis clinics. Through this partnership, the Biden-Harris Administration will provide vaccines directly to dialysis treatment centers so patients who typically go three times a week for treatment are able to get vaccinated at their place of care.
Prior to the White House’s announcement, Beatty joined forces with U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02) and U.S. Congressman Tony Cardenas (CA-29) to send a letter to COVID-19 Coordinator Jeff Zients urging the Administration to prioritize vaccine availability for “communities that are historically underserved, especially those experiencing kidney failure, who are uniquely vulnerable and disproportionately comprised of minority populations.” As the congressional trio also noted, “We know that vaccine hesitancy is prevalent in minority communities, and the relationship dialysis patients have built with their nurses and clinicians within the clinic reduces hesitancy.”
In the United States, kidney disease disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities, as 34 percent of patients on dialysis are Black and 19 percent are Hispanic. Further, individuals on dialysis who contract COVID-19 often have severe health outcomes and have a 50 percent hospitalization rate and a mortality rate between 20-30 percent from the virus.