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Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration will offer $250 million in federal grants to community organizations working to combat inequities in the response to the coronavirus, Vice President Kamala Harris announced Monday.

Why it matters: The pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color and other underserved populations. Racial disparities in the coronavirus vaccine rollout have become a particular concern as the U.S. strives for herd immunity.

Details: The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Minority Health will run the initiative, which is called "Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19."

  • The office will offer grants to local governments working with community-based organizations to improve testing efforts, contact tracing and preventative measures.
  • It's projected to fund approximately 30 projects in urban communities and 43 projects in rural communities for two years, according to the HHS.
  • The Office of Minority Health will accept applications through April 20.

What she's saying: "Our goal is to provide underserved communities with the information they need to stay safe and to get vaccinated. And remember, information and education, of course, save lives," Harris said Monday.

  • "When folks have the information and the education, they have the tools that equip them to take care of themselves and their family," she added.

The big picture: People of color remain at higher risk of dying from the coronavirus.

  • Of nearly 32 million people who have received at least one vaccine dose and racial or ethnicity data are available, 65.4% were white, 8.5% were Black, 7.1% were Hispanic, 4.7% were Asian, 1.7% were Native American or Alaskan Native, and 0.3% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, per the CDC.
  • Mistrust of the vaccine continues to be a challenge for Black communities due to centuries of medical malpractice by the government.

Go deeper: COVID-19 is accelerating an unfair future

Go deeper

Tech's war for your wrist

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech's biggest companies are ramping up competition for the real estate between your hand and your elbow.

The big picture: The next big hardware platform after the smartphone will likely involve devices for your eyes, your ears and your wrists.

2 hours ago - World

Tokyo Olympics to allow up to 10,000 fans at each event

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto (L) and IOC President Thomas Bach on Monday. Photo: Rodrigo Reyes Marin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics said Monday that venues can be filled up to 50% capacity when the Games kick off on July 23, with a maximum of 10,000 Japanese spectators at each event, AP reports.

Why it matters: Medical experts advising the Japanese government had recommended against allowing fans, citing the low vaccination rates in Japan and the potential for new variants to drive up infections.

2 hours ago - Health

The psychology behind COVID-19 vaccine lotteries

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NBA season tickets. Scholarships. A chance at $5 million. The list of lotteries and raffles states are launching to drive up COVID-19 vaccination rates is growing, and some local officials are already reporting "encouraging" results.

Driving the news: The reason why, some psychologists and public health experts say, is that the allure of lotteries for many people is simply that the prospect of winning a great prize seems better than passing up the chance, regardless of the odds.

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