Federal agencies visit Reading to promote COVID-19 initiative

Written by on July 6, 2021

 Federal agencies visit Reading to promote COVID-19 initiative

By Anthony Orozco / WITF
July 6, 2021

A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. U.K. health authorities rolled out the first doses of a widely tested and independently reviewed COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, starting a global immunization program that is expected to gain momentum as more serums win approval. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

READING, Pa. – Two federal agencies are combining forces to better protect underserved communities from COVID-19. They’re especially focused on people living in public housing or experiencing homelessness.

Dalton Paxman is the acting director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mid-Atlantic Region.

Visiting the Berks Community Health Center in Reading, Paxman says his agency’s collaboration with U.S. Housing and Urban Development aims to provide an equitable response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Investing and reaching people where they are, is a critical part of advancing President Biden’s vision to create a healthier America,” Paxman says.

The agencies advise housing authorities and health centers on how to reach people living in multifamily housing units, public housing and homeless shelters.

The effort tracks vaccination rates in specific high-need areas, assists in scheduling vaccinations, transports people to vaccine sites and hosts vaccine events.

Paxman says though the region has made strides, there is more work to be done. 

“I am very pleased to say that five of our six states in the mid-Atlantic region will reach the president’s goal of having 70% vaccinated adults by July 4 and that includes the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we have done very well. But we need to do better to fully protect our families and communities,” he says. 

About 61% of all Pennsylvanians are at least partially vaccinated, according to state data. 

The agency collaboration was originally announced in early May, but the federal agencies are now holding regional events to promote awareness. 

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