As the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the NAFC checked in with our members to gauge the current response efforts, capabilities and needs regarding testing and vaccination efforts amongst Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies in the United States.
This brief survey was completed in February 2021 by 530 NAFC Free and Charitable Clinic and Pharmacy Members located throughout 47 states. The survey results are highlighted below.
While currently 5% of survey respondents are providing COVID-19 vaccinations, 63% are interested in providing vaccinations for their patients and communities. Of that number, 38% are equipped and ready to provide vaccinations if they have access to them. Our clinics are a trusted part of their communities and offer an equitable way for underserved patients to access the vaccine.
Is your organization giving COVID-19 Vaccinations?
68% of survey respondents are either administering COVID-19 tests or coordinating testing access with their local hospital and health departments.
An additional 22% are interested in providing testing, providing an opportunity to expand testing in communities at clinics that are addressing health disparities and equity.
Is your organization currently testing for COVID-19?
Opportunities to Expand Testing and Vaccinations
One opportunity to expand COVID-19 testing and/or vaccinations is utilizing parking lot areas. Over 350 members responded that they have a lot available that could be used to set up accessible testing/vaccination locations for their communities.
Does your organization have a parking lot at your disposal that could be used for COVID-19 vaccination or testing?
Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies do not receive federal funding and rely on grants and donations to provide their communities’ needed services. Conservatively, over $10 million in funding would be needed to expand COVID-19 testing and/or vaccination access at interested locations.
If you are currently doing or interested in doing COVID-19 testing or Vaccines, how much additional funding support would your organization require for this program?
Opportunities to Expand COVID-19 Response Efforts
At this time, there is no large-scale federal distribution method for free and charitable clinics and pharmacy sites across the county to acquire COVID-19 vaccines. While a small pilot program has been announced which provides a limited number of vaccines to 250 Federally Qualified Health Centers, it is important to note that the majority of COVID-19 vaccine distribution will continue to be coordinated by each state utilizing various different methods.
The NAFC continues to work with our partners and funders to help expand COVID-19 response efforts in communities across the country. Additionally, the NAFC is meeting with Federal and Agency leaders and policymakers to identify opportunities and policy changes to help expand COVID-19 funding, testing and vaccine access to our member organizations and our patients.
Given that as of right now, the COVID-19 vaccination distribution is being conducted at the state level, we encourage our member organizations to contact their local governments to identify ways to receive COVID-19 vaccines from their states.
- Read more about the COVID-19 allocation and distribution process: https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines/distribution/index.htm…
- Learn more about how to coordinate with your health department to administer or receive the COVID-19 vaccine: https://www.nga.org/memos/state-covid-19-vaccine-resources/
Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies are on the frontlines in the U.S. helping their communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing access to affordable health care and addressing the issues that face their community members including racial and economic disparities, health care equity, social determinants of health and much more.
Annually, the 1,400 Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies located throughout the country provide a wide range of services to 2 million medically underserved people. They are truly their community’s response to the health care needs in their area. Our members are a trusted resource in their communities and provide a great option to expand services like COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.