Committee approves $4.7M in funds for vaccine efforts

  • FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2021, file photo, a certified medical assistant prepares doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines available, U.S. health authorities said they're confident both seniors and other vulnerable Americans seeking booster shots and parents anticipating approval of initial shots for young children will have easy access. (AP Photo/John Locher, File) John Locher

Associated Press
Published: 10/22/2021 5:13:40 PM

A legislative committee on Friday approved a proposal from the state Department of Health and Human Services to use $4.7 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to boost the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

The last-minute proposal from Gov. Chris Sununu and Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette came this week after she withdrew the requests for the acceptance of $27 million in federal COVID-19 vaccination funding that was rejected by the Executive Council last week.

Approval for the $27 million was needed by both the council and the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee, which tabled the funds last month. Republican members expressed deep concern that accepting the funds would have bound the state to follow federal directives and mandates related to COVID-19, including “quarantine and isolation.” Attorney General John Formella said that wasn’t the case.

Sununu thanked the committee for its vote, saying “we are committed to finding alternative sources of funds to ensure our vaccine distribution can move full steam ahead and today’s vote allows us to do so.”’

Sununu said the funding is “critical to ensure boosters are available to the State’s vulnerable and at risk populations, and will support Regional Public Health Networks to set up efficient vaccine clinics to improve access for individuals and parents who wish to have their children vaccinated.”

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