The Baker-Polito Administration last week announced $8.8 million in additional grants and contracts to community-based organizations as part of the Massachusetts Vaccine Equity Initiative to increase awareness and access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the 20 cities and towns hardest hit by the pandemic. The awards are part of the Administration’s investment of $27.4 million in federal funds announced in March.
The funds, which will be distributed to select community- and faith-based organizations statewide, include $6.8 million to 25 organizations over 24 months to reduce barriers to vaccination for priority communities and populations most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Community-based organizations, community health centers, and behavioral health centers will provide guidance about vaccine eligibility, assistance to register for online appointments and translation services, among other supports. Services will be delivered by bilingual and bicultural staff and community health workers, who have experience serving priority populations.
“As we continue to focus on the unequal burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals in our hardest hit cities and towns, we’re working hand in hand with communities on vaccine outreach and access efforts,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “That means building trust and confidence in vaccine safety and efficacy and helping eligible residents overcome barriers to get vaccinated.”
Organizations will receive funding to directly administer vaccination to groups that were not reached by other outreach efforts. These organizations can be deployed to smaller venues with populations that may require more intensive one-on-one vaccination support, such as substance use disorder treatment facilities, places of worship, homeless encampments, food pantries/congregate meal locations, LGBTQ+ community programs, shelters and day programs, and immigrant assistance centers.
Award Recipients are:
•Boston Medical Center
•Cambridge Health Alliance
•East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
•Dimock Community Health Center
•Lynn Community Health Center
Community-based organizations who serve the 20 priority communities, and beyond those communities, the priority populations who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 may apply for funding here.
An additional $1.96 million in funding is being administered by Health Resources in Action (HRiA) in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. These funds are being awarded to 38 organizations to support their efforts to expand vaccine education and awareness that address the specific needs of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other communities of color within the 20 prioritized communities. As part of an initial round of funding that began in December, 20 awardees have already begun community outreach, communication, and education. This latest award supplements that initial funding and will support 18 additional community and faith-based organizations serving the 20 prioritized communities, with a focus on those disproportionately impacted.
Newly Funded Organizations:
• Asian Women for Health
• Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition International Institute of New England, Inc.
• Multicultural AIDS Coalition
• The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless
• North Shore Latino Business Association
• Greater Lowell Health Alliance
• The Joint Committee for Children’s Health Care
• The Psychological Center
• Malden YWCA
• Community Economic Development Center
• The Latino Health Insurance Program, Inc.
• Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc.
• Elevate New England
• Latinos Unidos en Massachusetts
• Jewish Family Service of Metrowest
• Synergy Partnership
• New Life Community Empowerment Center
Announced by the Baker-Polito Administration in February 2021, the Vaccine Equity Initiative focuses on 20 cities and towns with the greatest COVID-19 case burden, taking into account social determinants of health and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). These communities are Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester.