As the nation continues to reopen and ease restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration has announced a series of new resources.
These efforts range from pop-up clinics and mobile units that make free vaccines more readily available in underserved communities, to funeral benefits for those who’ve lost loved ones to the coronavirus.
President Joe Biden recently announced a goal for 70 percent of the U.S. adult population to have one vaccine shot and for 160 million adults to be fully vaccinated by July 4th. “Almost 150 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. Over 105 million Americans are fully vaccinated,” he said on Tuesday. “And among our most vulnerable population — seniors — we are nearing 85 percent of those who have gotten their first shot. Seventy percent of the seniors are now fully vaccinated.”
Biden noted that cases have gone down in 40 states in the past two weeks. “Deaths are down dramatically since January — down over 80 percent among seniors, which includes a drop among Hispanics of 80 percent and among African Americans of 70 percent of seniors.” To help the country “return to normal,” Biden said he is directing tens of thousands of pharmacies to offer walk-in appointments and redirecting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resources to support more pop-up clinics, smaller community vaccination sites, and more mobile clinics. Biden said the federal government will ship new allocations of the vaccine to rural health clinics across the country and provide additional funding to states to help them with outreach.
Additionally, the White House stated that the federal government will support hiring workers from vulnerable communities to address persistent racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health inequities. These workers will help answer questions about vaccination, make vaccine appointments, and assist with transportation, child care arrangements, or other needs to get to individuals to their appointments.
As of late April, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data shows 32 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. More than 572,000 people have died of the virus or its complications. FEMA is now providing financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020. It’s under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
To be eligible for funeral assistance, applicants must meet certain conditions. The death must have occurred in the United States. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020. However, there is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien. The death certificate must indicate the person’s passing was attributed to COVID-19. There is no deadline to apply.
Applicants may apply by calling 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 9a.m. to 9p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. Multilingual services are available.
After one has called to apply, officials said documentation can be submited online through Disasterassistance.gov, or by fax 855-261-3452. Documents may also be mailed to: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance P.O. Box 10001 Hyattsville, MD 20782.
Applicants can visit: FEMA.gov/funeral-assistance/faq for more details.