Congressman Lucas Marks 1 Year Anniversary of COVID-19 Global Pandemic, Announces Expansion of COVID-19 Vaccine Program in Third District
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) marked the one year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring SARS-COV-2 as a global pandemic by announcing the expansion of the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program in Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District. Shortgrass Community Health Center, in Hollis, Oklahoma, has been invited by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Health Resources & Service Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to join the next phase of the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program.
“Exactly one year ago today, scientists at the World Health Organization declared a coronavirus outbreak originating from Wuhan, China as a global pandemic. Since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed on January 21, 2020 in the United States, families and communities across the country have felt the loneliness of isolation, grieved for the loss of a loved one, and are now joyful for the occasion to receive a life-changing vaccine. Thanks to critical public-private partnerships, scientists, healthcare workers, and three accelerating vaccine campaigns, we are steadily return back to a life of normalcy,” said Congressman Lucas. “In our fight to eradicate COVID-19 from our communities nothing has been more important than getting vaccines to rural, underserved communities. Today, I’m proud to share that the Shortgrass Community Health Center in Hollis, Oklahoma will join the fight and help distribute vaccines to more of our fellow Oklahomans.
“Thank you to all of Oklahoma’s frontline workers who have worked so heroically this past year to fight COVID-19, and thank you to the Health Resources & Services Administration for ensuring that America’s rural communities get vaccinated.”
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched this program to directly allocate COVID-19 vaccines to HRSA-supported health centers to ensure that our nation's underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 are equitably vaccinated.
HRSA-funded health centers are community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver affordable, accessible, quality, and cost-effective primary health care. Nationwide, nearly 1,400 HRSA-funded health centers operate approximately 13,000 sites, providing primary and preventive care on a sliding fee scale to nearly 30 million patients each year.
Prior to today, 250 health centers were invited to this program, and include those that serve a large volume of the following disproportionately affected populations: individuals experiencing homelessness, public housing residents, migrant/seasonal agricultural workers, or patients with limited English proficiency.
Today, an additional 700 health centers were invited to participate in the next phase of the program and include those that serve: high proportions of low income and minority patients, provide services to rural/frontier populations, operate Tribal/Urban Indian Health Programs, and/or utilize mobile vans to deliver services.
As of March 5th, 1,007,817 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Oklahoma.
On March 9th, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that Oklahoma has entered Phase 3 of its vaccine distribution plan, distributing vaccinations to staff and students in educational setting outside of PreK-12 and critical infrastructure personnel.
To view the list of the health centers participating in or invited to join the program please visit: https://www.hrsa.gov/coronavirus/health-center-program.
To locate a HRSA-funded health center, visit: https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/.