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HomeCovid-19Fall Vaccination Campaign Will Bring New Shots, Worse Access

Fall Vaccination Campaign Will Bring New Shots, Worse Access

Long past the point when pollsters said there were no more Americans willing to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, Coral Garner kept finding them.

An organizer of mobile clinics for the Minnesota Department of Health, she arranged to provide vaccines and booster shots to people who had resisted them, setting up in a retrofitted city bus outside a Nigerian church, a Hmong senior center, a Somali mall and dozens of other sites.

But even as the United States now prepares for a critical campaign to deliver Omicron-specific booster shots, Ms. Garner’s job no longer exists. In June, her contract position was canceled because the state said funding had dried up.

Having shifted much of the rollout to private sites, though, states have been promised FEMA reimbursements on a relatively modest $550 million in vaccination spending so far this year. Last year, that figure was $8.5 billion.

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And while providers are supposed to vaccinate everyone for free, with or without insurance, the federal government ran out of money this spring to offer reimbursements for shots for uninsured people, making it more difficult for them to receive boosters.

Sonya Bernstein, a senior policy adviser for the White House Covid response team, said federal spending to support vaccination efforts was being held back by a stalemate in Congress over the administration’s request for billions of dollars in additional pandemic aid. Republicans have said that additional coronavirus spending could be covered with funding already approved by Congress, an assertion that some state health officials say is false.

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