The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has published its request for applications (RFA) for a $3.1 million grant program aimed at promoting racial and geographic equity in the COVID-19 vaccination program. DHS intends to award approximately 50 grants to community-based organizations engaged in health equity work that will complement Wisconsin’s efforts to promote vaccine confidence and minimize systemic barriers.
Due to various social factors and systemic barriers, communities of color have experienced higher rates of infection, hospitalizations, and death during this pandemic . In Wisconsin, as well as nationwide, COVID-19 vaccine data shows rates of vaccinations have been disproportionately lower for Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and other underserved populations. In addition to current barriers that prevent many populations from accessing quality healthcare, many of these communities have also faced historic traumas and medical mistreatment that has driven vaccine hesitancy.
This grant program aims to address these disparities by investing in organizations to provide culturally competent information to build vaccine confidence, reduce racial and geographic barriers that prevent individuals from accessing the COVID-19 vaccine, and to serve as trusted messengers in promoting the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. These partnerships will be vital to minimizing the impact of COVID-19 and achieving the statewide immunity rate needed to overcome this pandemic.
DHS is seeking organizations that are recognized as a 501(c)3 organization, project sponsored by another 501(c)3 organization, a K-12 school or district, or a local/tribal government entity; and are committed to reducing socioeconomic or health inequities in Wisconsin. DHS will support grantees with technical support, educational resources and materials, and public health guidance. Organizations that work with marginalized or medically underserved populations are encouraged to apply.
The grant program is open to applications on February 16. The application deadline in March 19 at 4 pm CT. Awards are expected to be announced March 31. To access the grant visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/contracts/covid-19-vaccination-community-outreach.htm.