In an effort to create and support a community-based vaccination workforce in underserved communities, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $125 million in workforce grants this week to 14 nonprofit private or public organizations.
All funds derive from the American Rescue Plan and represent the first of two funding opportunities announced by President Joe Biden that will promote community-based efforts to hire and mobilize community health and outreach workers, along with social support specialists and more.
The largest grants were awarded to the AltaMed Health Services Corporation – $11,169,570; Partners In Health – $11,169,572; Los Angeles County, California – $11,169,572; the National Alliance for Hispanic Health – $11,168,770; the National Minority Health Association – $11,162,086; and the Public Health Institute – $11,160,894.
“For many of us, it’s best to hear from a friend or community leader when deciding whether to make a big decision, like taking the COVID-19 vaccine,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “To reach President Biden’s goal of 70 percent of the U.S. adult population having one vaccine shot by July 4th, we are doing everything we can to reach marginalized communities with lower vaccination rates. These awards will enable trusted, community-based organizations to use strategies tailored to the populations and areas they know best to address persistent racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health inequities.”
Workers hired with these funds will be utilized to respond to individuals’ questions, schedule vaccine appointments, and assist with transportation and other related vaccination needs. Participating organizations will work with regional and local partners to get as many people vaccinated as possible.