State Awards Additional $13.5 Million for COVID-19 Vaccine-equity Efforts

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced $13.5 million to support community organizations working in the cities and towns hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Massachusetts Vaccine Equity Initiative to increase awareness, acceptance, and access to the COVID-19 vaccine. These latest grants are part of the administration’s investment of more than $46.5 million to address vaccine hesitancy.

With these funds, community organizations continue the work of reducing barriers to vaccine access and promoting primary vaccines and boosters for communities and populations most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

“These trusted, community-based organizations and leaders know their communities and neighborhoods best,” acting Department of Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke said. “These organizations expand and amplify the efforts of our Vaccine Equity Initiative by helping address the immediate and long-term health-equity needs in priority communities — needs that have been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

The $13.5 million includes:

• $10.65 million to launch the Massachusetts Community Health Workers for Resilient Communities program. Ten organizations in nine priority communities have been awarded three-year grants to support community health workers in clinical-care settings and support local boards of health in increasing COVID-19 vaccination efforts;

• $2.2 million to extend current outreach and education funding to 45 community- and faith-based organizations, which will continue hosting and promoting vaccine clinics in the 20 Massachusetts communities most impacted by COVID-19. Funded organizations will also engage families and children to support pediatric vaccinations; and

• $675,000 has to nine community organizations to support a new COVID-19 vaccine-equity program to support the unique needs of rural communities.

The grants are the result of three major funding awards from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to Massachusetts, building on the Commonwealth’s investment to increase vaccine awareness and acceptance in communities hardest-hit by COVID-19.