HHS to make COVID-19 vaccines more available to older adults, disabled people

Agencies will provide about $100 million in grants to aging and disability networks across the country.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to expand COVID-19 vaccine access among older adults and those with disabilities.

According to a news release, the partnership will provide nearly $100 million in funding for vaccinations among these groups to advance the goal of protecting those most vulnerable and advancing equity. Nearly $93 million in grants will go to aging and disability networks in every state and territory in the country to help provide critical services to overcome barriers preventing millions of Americans most at risk from serious illness and death from being vaccinated against COVID-19.

An additional $5 million will go to national hotlines to assist older adults and people with disabilities in registering for a vaccination and connecting them with local disability and aging agencies, the release says.

"The Biden Administration is committed to expanding access to vaccines, with a unique focus on ensuring those hit hardest by COVID-19 and at highest risk for severe illness or death get vaccinated," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra says in the release. "Through this unique, exciting new partnership between ACL and CDC, HHS will work alongside advocates to help older adults and people with disabilities get the services and assistance they need in order to get vaccinated and have the security of knowing they are protected from COVID-19."

The breakdown on where the $93 million in funding will go is:

  • State Units on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging ($50 million)
  • Aging and Disability Resource Centers (S26 million)
  • Centers for Independent Living that receive federal funding directly from ACL ($5 million)
  • University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities ($4 million)
  • Protection and Advocacy systems ($4 million)
  • State Councils on Developmental Disabilities ($4 million)