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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two federal agencies are joining together to boost COVID-19 vaccinations and treatment services in minority communities.

The federal departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services are reaching out to 7,500 public housing complexes, including Theron B. Watkins homes in Kansas City, to try to stop the spread of COVID-19. The campaign is targeting those who receive federal housing aid.

Missouri continues to have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation. As a result, the Show-Me State has been leading the country in new cases of the coronavirus.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has even suggested that he may consider re-imposing some public health restrictions to try to limit the spread of the Delta variant.

“I am a bit concerned, and I think we are all a bit concerned,” Lucas said. “We’ve looked at rising COVID-19 infection rates in Missouri. We have seen rising COVID-19 infection rates in Kansas City. Sadly, we’ve seen an inability to break that 40 percent threshold, it seems, in vaccinations here in western Missouri and in Kansas City. We have a lot more work to do.”

Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be hit harder by the virus when it infects them. That’s why President Biden signed an executive order to ensure an equitable pandemic response and recovery among all Americans.

Community health centers that get federal money have been focusing their efforts on these underserved communities through outreach, on-site vaccination clinics and transportation for testing or immunizations.