Vaccine Equity Grant II to support increased vaccine access, acceptance, and uptake
Mayor Kim Janey, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the Office of Health and Human Services invested another $1.5 million dollars in the Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative to increase vaccine access, acceptance and uptake in areas with the lowest vaccination rates in the city.
Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative II is an investment of $1.5 million dollars with four-month awards up to $150,000, including an expansion of some of the awards from the first Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative. BPHC and HHS will select a combination of proposals that serve the widest variety of impacted populations and neighborhoods (zip codes).
The deadline for applications is Tuesday, June 29, at 5 p.m.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve known that certain neighborhoods and communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Mayor Janey. “Creating this grant initiative will fund organizations closest to the individuals most affected, helping the City respond on a local, community-based level. I look forward to working with the grantees to further our efforts in vaccinating our more vulnerable communities.”
“In Boston, we are committed to continuing to prioritize local access and equitable planning when developing strategies to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to all of our residents,” said Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez. “The grant program will build on our community partnerships and help ensure every Bostonian who is eligible has the necessary supports needed to get vaccinated.”
Through this grant opportunity, the City of Boston is seeking organizations to work as community partners to increase equitable vaccine access, acceptance and uptakes in zip codes with vaccination rates below 50%.
Priority zip codes with low vaccination rates are:
Proposals should focus on strategies that eliminate barriers to the vaccine for residents in these the zip codes. And, targeted efforts to bolster COVID vaccine confidence and acceptance, particularly in immigrant communities. Access and awareness strategies may include:
- Direct, in-person outreach – to target populations with direct efforts to schedule individuals for vaccine appointments directly out in the community.
- Public awareness efforts – to target specific populations or neighborhoods to build confidence in vaccines and their effectiveness that are culturally specific to the communities being connected with.
- Wrap around supports – to create equitable access to vaccine appointments through methods including transportation support, interpretation services, companion programs, and support dedicated staff working to get residents into vaccine appointments.
- Direct clinic support – to expand outreach or on-site services through additional staffing to support access to vaccines, including access during non-traditional hours or at non-traditional locations.
Funds will be prioritized to organizations with cultural competence including linguistic capacity to effectively outreach to ethnic communities, particularly in Dorchester and Mattapan zip codes. Funds will also be prioritized for new partnership models, as well as organizations that have not yet been fully engaged in this work with the City/ BPHC or funded previously through the Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative.
In addition to selecting a priority zip code(s), proposals must include engagement and outreach to one or two of the inequitably impacted populations included below:
- Black/African American
- Persons with disabilities
The types of activities funded through the Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative include:
- Direct, in-person outreach to targeted populations to get them into appointments for the vaccine (not general outreach or awareness-building, but a team of appointment-setters; think census takers)
- Public awareness efforts targeting specific populations or neighborhoods to build confidence in vaccines’ effectiveness, e.g. using multilingual young adults as ambassadors. Integrate all tools that are available for public awareness to stop the spread of the virus, including testing for COVID-19.
- Additional wrap around supports needed to create equitable access to vaccine appointments including transportation support, help with interpretation services, companion programs, and dedicated staff to get residents into appointments, etc.
- Direct clinic support can be for staffing for outreach or on-site services to support access to vaccines for inequitably impacted populations, including access to non-traditional hours or locations etc.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Boston has prioritized access to COVID-19 testing and vaccination for communities most impacted. The current community positivity rate is 3.9 percent for the week of March 12-18, 2021, with the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, and East Boston experiencing the highest rates. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 24 percent of known cases have been among Black/African American residents, 30 percent of known cases have been among Hispanic/Latinx residents, and 6 percent of known cases have been among Asian/Pacific Islander residents. Get more information on COVID-19 positivity.
Under the State’s leadership, the City is taking a four-pronged approach to vaccination:
- Mass Vaccination Clinics, where the goal is to vaccinate the highest number of individuals;
- Priority Group Clinics to vaccinate a targeted number of individuals within a specific priority group;
- Community-based Public Clinics to vaccinate any individual eligible to receive a vaccine at easily accessible locations throughout Boston’s neighborhoods; and
- Mobile vaccination sites with the goal to vaccinate the hardest to reach Boston residents by bringing small-scale mobile clinics to them.
The Offices of Health and Human Services, Age Strong Commission, Immigrant Advancement, Commission for Persons with Disabilities and other departments are doing extensive outreach to community organizations, coalitions and neighborhood groups to raise visibility and to create access to the vaccine for those populations most impacted. Along with equitable distribution efforts, the City is focused on building widespread public awareness of the benefits and importance of getting the vaccine.
We have more information online about the COVID-19 vaccination in Boston.