BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced an additional $4.5 million in grants to organizations working in communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is a component of the Massachusetts Vaccine Equity Initiative to increase awareness and access to the COVID-19 vaccine and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. The latest grants are part of the Administration’s investments of over $51 million to promote vaccine access and confidence, primarily in communities of color.
The grants are the result of a major funding award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the Commonwealth, building on the state’s investment to increase vaccine awareness and acceptance. These funds support community organizations and community health centers to continue the work of reducing barriers to vaccine access and promoting vaccines and boosters for communities and populations most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
“These trusted community-based organizations know their communities best,” said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “They use their knowledge and relationships to expand the efforts of our Vaccine Equity Initiative by helping address the unique health equity needs of the communities and populations they serve – needs that have been exacerbated by COVID-19.”
This additional $4.5 million includes:
• $1.1 million in new grants to 26 community- and faith-based organizations, including Tribal and Indigenous People-serving organizations, in partnership with Health Resources in Action (HRiA). Along with 50 other community organizations currently funded, these organizations will provide culturally appropriate outreach and education on COVID-19 vaccination and mitigation as well as host and promote vaccine clinics for priority populations most impacted by COVID-19. Funded organizations will engage families and children for pediatric vaccinations and boosters.
• $3.1 million for the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to support 42 community health centers for critical workforce and equipment needs and outreach, education, and navigation support towards COVID-19 vaccination. This funding is in addition to $5 million being distributed to community health centers for walk-in vaccination services.
• $300,000 to three community organizations to expand the COVID-19 vaccine equity work in rural communities, in partnership with the New England Rural Health Assoc. With the addition of these grants, the program now funds vaccine equity work serving 143 rural towns.