$10 million in grants support vaccination efforts

Brownwood Bulletin
Courtney Parrott

Texas A&M University and the Department of State Health Services have teamed up to award $10 million in grants to support local vaccination efforts across Texas.

Funding will support community-based organizations in implementing COVID-19 vaccine outreach and education activities

Texas A&M University Health Science Center (Texas A&M Health) has been selected by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) – Immunization to administer the Texas Vaccine Outreach and Education Grant program. Through this new program $10 million in federal funds will be awarded to Texas community-based organizations.

Funding will support community-based organizations in implementing COVID-19 vaccine outreach and education activities aimed at boosting vaccination rates and increasing public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.

“Community-based organizations have played a critical role in ensuring people across Texas have access to COVID-19 vaccines, and they have innovative ideas about how to engage the communities they work with,” said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services. “These grants will give them the resources to expand their efforts to serve hard-to-reach communities that have been seriously affected by the pandemic.”

Currently 52.3 percent of the 12+ Texas population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, ranking the state 33rd in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Texas’ lower vaccination rate has been attributed to many factors including vaccine hesitancy and access.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Texas A&M Health has worked closely with the Texas Department of State Health Services to educate the public about COVID-19 and the importance of being vaccinated,” said Olga Rodriguez, associate vice president and chief of staff of Texas A&M Health. “This program will not only help reach those communities that have had little to no access to the vaccines but also dispel misinformation about the vaccines.”

Organizations including educational agencies, faith-based organizations, government entities, community coalitions and nonprofit organizations can apply for and be awarded a $50,000 to $150,000 grant for a six- to nine-month project period. Priority will be given to applicants who focus on reaching communities of color, Texans with disabilities and rural communities.

Texas organizations are able to submit proposals beginning today, with anticipated award notifications beginning at the end of August.

For additional eligibility information and how to apply, organizations can visit the grant’s https://health.tamu.edu/vaccinegrant/index.html.