HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam announced a new state grant program of $5 million to help grassroots institutions get hesitant communities vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Millions of Pennsylvanians have stepped up and received their COVID-19 vaccine, which is great progress, but to beat this pandemic and strengthen our economic resiliency, we need to make sure as many people as possible are vaccinated,” Sec. Davin said. “This grant program supports vaccine outreach by grassroots organizations that are trusted voices in vaccine-hesitant communities–which is key for educating all Pennsylvanians that vaccines are safe, effective, and the best way to protect against COVID-19.”
This grant is part of the evolving campaign, PA Unites Against COVID-19. Organizations that earn the grant will work to educate the community and address concerns to get more people vaccinated.
“We understand that people may be hesitant to get vaccinated – that is why we continue to comprehensively address people’s concerns and educate on the effectiveness and importance of the vaccine,” Acting Health Secretary Beam said. “Through this work, we hope to meet people where they are, answer their questions and help drive an impact in our communities across the commonwealth. Together, we can fight COVID-19.”
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The COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Grant Program will give grants of up to $100,000 to nonprofit organizations, as well as childcare and educational centers. They can use the grant to set up training and outreach guides, local media buys, sponsorship of vaccine-related events, equipment rentals to get people vaccinated and more.
The Pa. Department of Health says about 68% of Pennsylvanians aged 18 and older are fully vaccinated and Gov. Wolf said on Friday about 85% of Pennsylvanians in that age range have at least one dose.
Officials hope this grant will help provide trusted allies to those unsure or hesitant about getting vaccinated and increase access to low-income, Black/African American, Latinx, LGBTQ+ and homeless communities, as well as those who don’t have access to the internet.