(WWTI) – In April, the United States Department of Health and Human Services announced the ‘HHS Bridge Access Program For COVID-19 Vaccines to maintain access to COVID-19 vaccines for uninsured Americans. The Bridge Access Program officially launched last week.

The Bridge Access Program will provide free coverage for the estimated 25-30 million adults who would have lost access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines now that the vaccines have transitioned to the commercial market.

Administered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the over $1 billion program will create a public-private partnership to help uninsured individuals maintain access to COVID-19 care at their local pharmacies. Doses are available in some places now, with distribution increasing in the coming weeks.

“We have more tools than ever to protect against serious COVID-19 disease and death, but we must make sure everyone has equitable access to those tools — This CDC program provides free COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured and underinsured adults at pharmacies, health centers and health departments around the country.” 

Director Mandy Cohen, M.D., M.P.H.

To achieve this, the CDC has leveraged an established network of state and local immunization programs to distribute updated COVID-19 vaccines through participating community-based providers, you can find your local provider Here.

The Bridge Access Program is temporary and scheduled to end in December 2024. A longer-term solution is the Vaccines for Adults program, which would cover all recommended vaccinations at no cost for uninsured adults, this proposal has not yet been enacted into law. 

COVID-19 vaccines remain free for most Americans through their health insurance plans – or through the Vaccines for Children program, which provides recommended vaccines and immunizations at no cost to approximately half of the nation’s children. The CDC recommends getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine — If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 2 months — to protect yourself in advance of any potential surges in virus circulation this fall and winter.

More information on the Bridge Access Program is available on the CDC’s website.