DHEC launches grant program to fund local COVID vaccine outreach efforts
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is turning to local communities to help increase awareness for COVID-19 vaccines.
DHEC announced Friday they are launching a grant assistance program to fund hyperlocal outreach efforts. The agency will provide grants to applicants with the funding it received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“DHEC and key partners across the state have done a yeoman’s job sharing essential COVID-19 information and working together to combat misinformation that leads to confusion and, in turn, hesitancy about the vaccines among South Carolinians,” said DHEC Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler. “South Carolina is taking advantage of this federal funding to help ensure people in rural areas and minority or vulnerable communities receive the information they need to make informed decisions about vaccines from people they know and trust. Information sharing is more important than ever since South Carolina, and several other states, are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.”
The outreach initiatives will be centered on increasing community-level engagement about the safety, effectiveness, and benefits of COVID-19 vaccines and why they are essential to ending the pandemic. Officials say there will be no unsolicited door-to-door residential outreach.
The grant recipients’ initiatives will include:
- Distributing DHEC informational materials
- Conducting safe in-person or virtual educational sessions with community members
- Placing social media and other media advertising messages on channels designed to reach focused populations
- Utilizing non-traditional outreach methods (informational signs at intersections, point-of-sale advertising, direct mailers, grassroots outreach, etc.)
- Providing transportation to people who want to get vaccinated
According to the release, the number of organizations receiving funding will depend on the applications submitted. But the agency anticipates awarding up to 25 grants totaling up to $5 million for six months. Each award is expected to last for six months and can be renewed up to three times for a total period of two years.
The applications will be accepted through Aug. 5, 2021.
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