2021 | Coronavirus

Health center in Silver Spring is first in state for federal COVID-19 vaccine program

Doses will go to disproportionately affected populations

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A CCI patient receives a COVID-19 vaccine from the community health center.

Photo from CCI Health & Wellness Services

A Montgomery County health center was selected to be the first health center in the state to participate in the federal Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program.

CCI Health & Wellness Services, based in Silver Spring, announced the news in a press release on Thursday.

The federal vaccine program is aimed at ramping up delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine to some of the country’s hardest-hit populations and seeks to ensure equity with the distribution. The vaccine doses allocated for the program are separate from the doses provided each week for the jurisdiction.

The center is one of 250 health centers across the country that will be part of the program’s initial phase. It was chosen because it serves a large volume of disproportionately affected populations, according to the release.

The effort is focused on people who are homeless, those in public housing, migrant or seasonal agricultural workers, or patients with limited English proficiency.

“This program empowers us to continue our efforts to end healthcare disparities and bolster health equity,” Sonya Bruton, the CEO and president of CCI Health & Wellness Services, said in the release.

“Our greatest weapon in primary care is prevention, and it has helped us limit the devastation experienced by the populations we serve most. The Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program supports our efforts to protect and prevent negative outcomes and provide much-needed peace of mind for our patients.”

The center serves more than 60,000 people through five medical sites in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties — 66% of its patients are served in a language other than English.

All 1,400 community health center organizations in the nation will eventually receive vaccines through the program, as well, the release said.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.