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Nevada Senators Jacky Rosen, left, and Catherine Cortez Masto during a news conference at the Southern Nevada Health District Vaccination Site in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 27, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Nevada was awarded $30.2 million from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to beef up the state’s COVID-19 vaccine program, including a push to vaccinate communities of color, which have been hit hardest by the coronavirus, the CDC announced Tuesday.

“Millions of Americans are getting vaccinated every day, but we need to ensure that we are reaching those in the communities hit hardest by this pandemic,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a release. “This investment will support state and local health departments and community-based organizations as they work on the frontlines to increase vaccine access, acceptance, and uptake.”

One group hit hard by the virus is Latinos, which makeup about 30 percent of the state’s population but account for about 36 percent of the COVID-19 cases and nearly a quarter of the deaths, Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) said at a congressional hearing last month

The funds are part of $3 billion in funding that CDC has granted to 64 jurisdictions to increase vaccine distribution, access and administration efforts. The spending was provided under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) signed into law last month and the $900 million Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, enacted late last year.

The funds could be used to enlist trusted community members to conduct door-to-door outreach to raise awareness about COVID-19 vaccines and help individuals sign up for appointments. 

Funds could also be used to hire “community health workers who perform culturally-competent bilingual health outreach so they can provide people who are receiving care with the information they need to get a free vaccination,” the CDC said.

Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation, including Rosen and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), have spent the current two-week recess touting the ARP, which included more than $7.5 billion in federal funding to deliver and distribute vaccines.

“Vaccines are the key to reopening our schools, getting people back to work, and restoring Nevada’s tourism industry and economy,” Cortez Masto said last week after a visit to the vaccine distribution site at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas. “We need to make sure everyone gets vaccinated quickly and fairly, which is why I made sure the American Rescue Plan included specific funding to get vaccines where they need to go.”

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