Push made for some WNY health centers to receive direct federal allocation of COVID-19 vaccine

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Posted at 4:39 PM, Feb 09, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Following an announcement by the White House that some Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) will be provided an allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as next week, Congressman Brian Higgins (D - 26th District) has pushed for some Western New York health centers to be among the first.

In a letter to the Health Resources & Services Administration Higgins pushed for the following health centers to be among the first to receive the vaccine: Community Health Center of Buffalo, Jericho Road Ministries, Neighborhood Health Center of WNY and Evergreen Health.

Higgins says the health centers operate clinics in communities that were hit hard by COVID.

“In Erie and Niagara Counties, the ZIP codes hardest hit by COVID are those whose residents are majority people of color and are disproportionately low-income. These are precisely the communities Buffalo’s FQHCs are dedicated to serving, and that they are uniquely positioned to reach," said Higgins in a statement.

Higgins continues on to say in his letter that FQHCs are trusted and have an existing relationship with patients.

"FQHCs are trusted providers in their communities, and leveraging the existing relationships they have with patients who may not otherwise have access to health care and who may be historically mistrustful of our health care system will be key in getting folks in these hard-to-reach communities vaccinated. I therefore strongly urge you to include FQHCs in Erie and Niagara counties as part of HRSA’s vaccine distribution effort to health centers," said Higgins.