04.08.21

Leahy Secures $32 Million To Vaccinate Vermonters

. . . Visits Morrisville Vaccination Site and Copley Hospital

MORRISVILLE, Vt. (THURSDAY, April 8, 2021) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday announced that Vermont has received an additional $32 million from the federal government to aid the state’s efforts to vaccinate against COVID-19.

Leahy, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, also announced $8.5 billion in aid to rural health care providers included by the Senate in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) which was signed into law by President Biden in March.  He announced the federal funding during a visit to the Morrisville vaccination site hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and to Copley Hospital.

Leahy said:  “Health care workers have stood as our first and last lines of defense against COVID throughout the pandemic protecting our loved ones and our communities.  I am glad that I had the opportunity to thank the staff of Copley Hospital today and extend my thanks to all of Vermont’s health care workers.  I am also gratified to have been able to do my part to support Vermont’s vaccination efforts by securing additional federal funding.  Now I ask every one of my fellow Vermonters to do our parts and sign up for a vaccine as soon as you become eligible. Together, we can end this pandemic.”

Vermont received $5.6 million to fund its vaccination efforts as part of a national allocation of $4.5 billion included the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act passed in December 2020.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services distributed the funding using a per capita formula which failed to take into account the added cost of administering a vaccination program in small states with sparse rural populations.  Leahy led the successful effort in the Senate to include a provision ensuring adequate vaccination funding for all states in the final version of the ARPA.  As a result of this provision, Vermont received an additional $18 million in grants to support its vaccination program and ensure rural residents have access to the vaccine.  This supplemental funding, combined with national vaccination funding included in ARPA, resulted in a total of $32 million in vaccination support for Vermont.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott worked to ensure that all Vermonters have access to the vaccine close to home even in the state’s most rural areas.  Vermont’s roll-out of vaccines to eligible age bands has ensured a swift and orderly vaccination process.  Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine joined Leahy in his visit to the Morrisville VFW vaccination site.

Leahy also visited Copley Hospital where he thanked health care workers for their service.  Despite their vital service, rural health care providers have faced challenges in the last year including cancelled procedures and increased costs due to COVID-19 mitigation measures.  The Senate included an investment of $8.5 billion to deliver needed aid to providers, allowing them to weather the pandemic and continue providing services to their communities.

# # # # #