Guilford County and the State of North Carolina have been bending over backward to make sure that the coronavirus vaccination distribution, and all other responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, are fair and equitable across all populations.
This week, to further that end, Healthier Together – a public-private partnership between the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and NC Counts Coalition – sent out a Request for Proposals from community-based organizations to apply for grants (ranging from $5,000 to $20,000) that help the state achieve its goal of delivering equitable access to the vaccines.
Healthier Together will award a total of $500,000 in grants for short-term vaccine equity initiatives that end before August 31 of this year.
According to a Tuesday, April 20 press release from the NCDHHS, the grants will go to “organizations supporting NC communities that experience health inequities to ensure that individuals from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and other historically marginalized populations are able to access vaccines.” The release adds that the grants will fund activities meant to “conduct vaccine outreach and education efforts, help people schedule appointments and arrange transportation, coordinate local vaccine events at trusted and accessible locations, provide on-site interpretation services and help ensure people get to second dose appointments.”
The application period opens up early next week and ends on Friday, May 14.
Given the effort that local non-profits, in conjunction with Guilford County government, have made in the area of vaccination response equity so far, it’s likely that some area agencies will qualify for the funding.
The good news now is that it is much easier to get a vaccine in the county and the state than it was earlier this year, but the bad news is that one reason behind that is hesitancy among some groups to get vaccinated. Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said last month one reason behind that is the distrust that was created by the Tuskegee Experiments and other government medical abuses on minority communities in the past.
NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen stated in the Tuesday press release that Healthier Together is uniting “the expertise and relationships of trusted organizations with the policy tools and resources of state government to create a new partnership model to address vaccine equity.”
Interested organizations can take part in an informational online webinar with the NC Counts Coalition on Monday, April 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The webinar will be available in Spanish, American Sign Language (ASL) and closed captioning, and it will be recorded for later viewing as well. Potential grantees can register for the webinar at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/healthier-together-rfp-webinar-tickets-151389230263.