The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced they are providing $66.5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to eight grantees to expand outreach efforts in 38 states and the District of Columbia to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence and vaccinations.
“Building vaccine confidence is critical to increasing vaccinations, which remains so important as we encourage boosters and kids’ vaccinations,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. This investment by the Biden-Harris Administration further expands our progress in partnering with trusted local messengers to deliver needed information on COVID-19 vaccines. This funding will help even more community-based organizations build confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine among people in their community who may not have been vaccinated yet.”
With the addition of these awards, HHS has provided a total of nearly $390 million to 158 organizations for the Community-based Workforce for COVID-19 Vaccine Program, supporting outreach, events, translation and other enabling services, education, and community health worker support in underserved areas in all 50 states. Many of today’s recipients are continuing to make progress in building vaccine confidence in diverse communities across the country. They are supporting trusted messengers through partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), churches, and local community-based organizations.
Awardees also are engaging communities with access issues, including individuals with developmental and physical disabilities, by using mobile pop-up sites to ensure easy access in the community and accessible vans to transport patients to vaccination appointments.
Examples of local partnerships and activities supported by the Community-based Workforce for COVID-19 Vaccine Program include:
- Deploying community outreach workers fluent in multiple spoken languages and American Sign Language;
- Organizing mobile vaccination clinics for farmworkers;
- Partnering with Black churches to build vaccine confidence; and
- Implementing culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach campaigns.
For example, with support from the Community-based Workforce for COVID-19 Vaccine Program, the Association of Asian/Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) provides interpretation and translation services related to COVID-19 vaccination, organizes events to administer vaccines in under-resourced communities, and has hired, trained, and deployed more than 250 community health workers to provide vaccination information.
Community health workers in AAPCHO program speak over 36 Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander languages and are deployed across 22 local community health organizations based in 12 continental U.S. states and Hawai’i. With today’s announcement, AAPCHO will expand their community health worker collaborative, expand their service area into new counties including rural areas, and engage with new target populations including youth to remove structural barriers to COVID-19 vaccinations in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way.
The Public Health Institute (PHI) is currently working with Black, Native American, Latinx, Asian-American/Pacific-Islander, immigrant/migrant, and older adult populations with lower incomes in 200 counties as part of HRSA's $11 million award announced in June 2021.
PHI and its partners train vaccine ambassadors and Promotores de Salud (promotoras) to serve as trusted messengers and engage in community conversations, telephone outreach and social media. Promotoras are Community Health Workers who engage community members, often in Spanish, to provide health-related outreach and education and connect patients to health resources in a linguistically and culturally appropriate way. PHI and COMMUNITIES RISE (RISE)—an alliance of partners connected to over 2,400 organizations across the nation—will use the new HRSA award to expand outreach to Black, Native American, Latinx, immigrant and migrant, low-income, older adult, and LGBTQ+ populations that are not yet vaccinated.