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Kentucky Rural Health Clinics to receive grant to increase COVID-19 vaccination rate

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 10:07 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is launching an initiative to help those in less fortunate areas across Kentucky.

The move has Kentucky Primary Care Association Director of Government Affairs Teresa Cooper ecstatic.

“The Rural Health Clinics are specifically located in medically underserved areas across the state,” Cooper said. “Oftentimes, they are the only medical practitioners in the community, so they’re a trusted resource for their patients.”

The initiative will provide $6.3 million dollars to 130 Rural Health Clinics (RHC’s) throughout the state with the goal of alleviating vaccine hesitancy.

“I think overall, Kentucky’s done a fabulous job but we still have some, have a ways to go,” Cooper said. “And getting the money for the rural areas is going to help.”

Part of the plan also includes taking stress off of healthcare workers.

“Last year, it was a nightmare at this time. It’s better, the numbers are going back up, but it has definitely alleviated some of the burden,” Primary Care Centers Medical Director Dr. John Jones said.

Jones said that this could also help eliminate misinformation regarding the vaccine.

“I do think that the funds that were provided by the federal government hopefully will kind of help with our education and overcome this hesitancy and put out some good information,” Jones said.

Another goal of this is to prevent mandates from returning as a new school year approaches.

“There’s going to be close contact, close proximity and it could cause some mandates to be put back in place,” Cooper said.

Officials said that there has yet to be a breakdown of how the funds will be dispersed.

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