Wolf Administration Announces New Grant Program to Promote Grassroots Vaccine Outreach

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

HARRISBURG, PA — Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam announced this week a new $5 million grant program to help grassroots organizations with encouraging vaccine-hesitant populations to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“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 Sec. 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.”

These grassroot efforts build onto the ongoing statewide public health awareness campaign, PA Unites Against COVID-19. Grantee organizations will work to educate their communities on the COVID-19 vaccine to improve uptake of the vaccine for the health and safety of Pennsylvania. This program will provide the necessary funding to community organizations to educate their community regarding COVID-19 vaccination to address hesitancy concerns and barriers and to provide direction 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.”

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The COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Grant Program will provide grants up to $100,000 to non-profit organizations and childcare and educational institutions. These grants will support grassroots outreach efforts including 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.

As of today, 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. By partnering with grassroots organizations that are considered trusted voices in these communities, this program is intended to increase vaccine uptake within those communities and increase the vaccination rate for all of Pennsylvania.

Eligible applicants can submit applications through November 1, 2021. Because this program uses federal funding, applicants will need a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number in order to apply for funding and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) in order to receive funding under the program. Full instructions for application, as well as complete program guidelines, can be found on the DCED website.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit the DCED website.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you, visit the CDC’s Vaccine Finder.

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