A local charter school and a local chapter of a statewide non-profit will receive grants from the COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Grant Program.

R.B. Wiley Community Charter School will receive $15,000 from the program, and the Sikh Society of Harrisburg — which has chapters in Erie, Dauphin, Cumberland, Allegheny, Philadelphia, Delaware, Franklin, Berks, Lehigh and Adams counties — will receive $20,000.

“Vaccines remain an absolutely essential element in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, however there are still Pennsylvanians who are hesitant to get their first dose,” said Governor Tom Wolf on Wednesday. “By providing funding to grassroots organizations for vaccine outreach efforts, we’re enabling them to serve as trusted messengers in vaccine-hesitant communities and promote the COVID-19 vaccine as a safe and effective way to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus.”

These grants are two of 65 projects throughout the commonwealth receiving grants totaling $2.5 million to encourage residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Despite some progress in community vaccine rates, there are still residents who are reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” said State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie. “This new funding will help grassroots organizations reach out with the message that getting the vaccine is a critically important way to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The program is an opportunity for the commonwealth to build upon its ongoing statewide public health awareness campaign, PA Unites Against COVID-19. Grantee organizations will work to address hesitancy concerns and barriers and educate their respective communities on the COVID-19 vaccine in order to continue toward their goal to increase vaccination numbers in the state.

“For those who are still hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, sometimes the right message, from a trusted neighbor or group, is all that is needed,” said State Rep. Bob Merski. “Securing this funding is going to allow R.B. Wiley and the Sikh Society to reach out and provide residents the reassurance they need that the vaccine is safe and effective.”

As of Wednesday, about 70 percent of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

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