Friday, March 26, 2021 - Mayor Kim Janey, the Boston Public Health Commission and the Office of Health and Human Services today announced the Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative, a program to provide funding to non-profit organizations working to increase vaccine access and awareness for communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant applications will open Wednesday, March 31, 2021 and the deadline to apply is April 9, 2021. With a total of $1.5 million in available funding, grant awards will range from $100,000 to $250,000 to be used by organizations over four months.
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've known that certain neighborhoods and communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19," said Mayor Janey. "Creating this grant initiative will fund organizations closest to the individuals most affected, helping the City respond on a local, community-based level. I look forward to working with the grantees to further our efforts in vaccinating our more vulnerable communities."
"In Boston, we are committed to continuing to prioritize local access and equitable planning when developing strategies to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to all of our residents," said Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez. "The grant program will build on our community partnerships and help ensure every Bostonian who is eligible has the necessary supports needed to get vaccinated."
Applicants will develop strategies to target equitable vaccine access in specific ethnic communities, Boston neighborhoods, and other groups experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 positivity. Applications should also target outreach for communities facing barriers in obtaining the vaccine. These include Black/African American, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and immigrant communities; persons with disabilities; individuals over the age of 65; and the neighborhoods of East Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Roslindale and Chinatown, where positivity rates have consistently been higher and vaccination rates have been lower than the citywide average.
As of March 16, 2021, 88,026 individuals who are 16 years of age or older have been fully vaccinated in the City of Boston. 45 percent of fully vaccinated Bostonians are people of color. 8,908 Asian/Pacific Islander residents are fully vaccinated; 15,604 Black residents are fully vaccinated; and 7,878 Latinx residents are fully vaccinated. In comparison, 42,997 White residents are fully vaccinated. For more information on vaccination rates, visit here.
Funds will be prioritized to applicants using partnership models that include a clinical/vaccine partner and a community-based organization to allow for specific efforts to reach populations with both clinical services and wrap-around services. Funds will also be prioritized for new partnership models or organizations that have not yet been fully engaged in this work. Access and awareness strategies include:
- Direct, in-person outreach: This will target populations and scheduling individuals for vaccine appointments.
- Public awareness efforts: This will target specific populations or neighborhoods to build confidence in vaccines and their effectiveness.
- Wrap around supports: This will help to create equitable access to vaccines appointments through methods including transportation support, interpretation services, companion programs, dedicated staff to get residents into vaccine appointments.
- Direct clinic support: This will include expanded staffing, outreach or on-site services to support access to vaccines people, including access during non-traditional hours or located at non-traditional locations.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Boston has prioritized access to COVID-19 testing and vaccination for communities most impacted. The current community positivity rate is 3.9 percent for the week of March 12-18, 2021, with the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, and East Boston experiencing the highest rates. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 24 percent of known cases have been among Black/African American residents, 30 percent of known cases have been among Hispanic/Latinx residents, and 6 percent of known cases have been among Asian/Pacific Islander residents. For more information on COVID-19 positivity, visit here.
Under the State's leadership, the City is taking a four-pronged approach to vaccination:
- Mass Vaccination Clinics, where the goal is to vaccinate the highest number of individuals;
- Priority Group Clinics to vaccinate a targeted number of individuals within a specific priority group;
- Community-based Public Clinics to vaccinate any individual eligible to receive a vaccine at easily accessible locations throughout Boston's neighborhoods; and
- Mobile vaccination sites with the goal to vaccinate the hardest to reach Boston residents by bringing small-scale mobile clinics to them.
The City of Boston has set aside vaccination appointments at the mass vaccination sites in Boston for our hardest hit communities. The Offices of Health and Human Services, Age Strong Commission, Immigrant Advancement, Commission for Persons with Disabilities and other departments are doing extensive outreach to community organizations, coalitions and neighborhood groups to raise visibility and to create access to the vaccine for those populations most impacted. Along with equitable distribution efforts, the City is focused on building widespread public awareness of the benefits and importance of getting the vaccine.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccination in Boston, visit here.