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Idaho to get nearly $21 million to boost vaccine uptake

April 6, 2021 GMT

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho will receive nearly $21 million in federal funds to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine and to improve access among racial and ethnic minorities.

The $20.7 million comes as part of the President Joe Biden’s pandemic aid package, dubbed the the American Rescue Plan.

Alex Adams, with the Idaho Division of Financial Management, told the Idaho Statesman that the state is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to finalize possible ways to use the funding while meeting equity requirements. State legislators must approve the appropriations before the money can be spent.

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Most of the funding must go to programs designed to increase vaccine access and uptake among racial and ethnic minority groups. Much of the money is expected to go to local health departments, community organizations and health centers.

Idaho didn’t start collecting race and ethnicity data on people provided the COVID-19 vaccine until the vaccination program was well underway. That’s because state leaders incorrectly said they were not legally allowed to track those demographics. As a result, the state is missing race data from about a quarter of the people who have been vaccinated, and missing ethnicity data from more than one-third of the total number.