HARRISBURG — On Tuesday, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam added a new program to encourage vaccine-hesitant populations to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The two announced a new $5 million grant to help grassroots organizations continue to spread the message.

“Millions of Pennsylvanians have stepped up and received their COVID-19 vaccine, which is great progress, but to beat this pandemic and strengthen our economic resiliency, we need to make sure as many people as possible are vaccinated,” said Secretary Davin. “This grant program supports vaccine outreach by grassroots organizations that are trusted voices in vaccine-hesitant communities–which is key for educating all Pennsylvanians that vaccines are safe, effective, and the best way to protect against COVID-19.”

Organizations who receive the grant will work to educate their communities on the COVID-19 vaccine in an attempt to improve vaccination numbers. This program will provide the necessary funding to community organizations to educate their community regarding COVID-19 vaccination to address barriers and provide guidance on where and how to schedule a vaccine appointment.

“We understand that people may be hesitant to get vaccinated – that is why we continue to comprehensively address people’s concerns and educate on the effectiveness and importance of the vaccine,” Acting Health Secretary Beam said. “Through this work, we hope to meet people where they are, answer their questions and help drive an impact in our communities across the commonwealth. Together, we can fight COVID-19.”

Grants will amount to up to $100,000 to non-profit organizations and childcare and educational institutions through the COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Grant Program to support such efforts as local media buys, creation of outreach and training materials, sponsorship of vaccine-related community events, equipment rental to assist with setting vaccine appointments, and more.

Currently, approximately 68 percent of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. However, many communities are still experiencing disparities in vaccination, including Black/African Americans, Latinx, the LGBTQ community, low-income persons, persons experiencing homelessness, persons less likely to use the Internet and others without Internet access, persons residing in rural or geographically isolated areas, and persons who have distrust in the government.

Eligible applicants can submit applications through Nov. 1. Because this program uses federal funding, applicants will need a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number in order to apply for funding under the program and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) . Full instructions for application, as well as complete program guidelines, can be found HERE.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you, click HERE.

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