How CT towns, cities with low COVID vaccination rates will use federal grants to promote vaccine equity

Coronavirus

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Vaccination demand is dropping. That has state officials stepping up efforts to make sure more shots are getting to underserved communities.

According to CDC data, Connecticut has become the first state in the nation to fully vaccinate more than half of all adults.

Related: CT becomes first state in the nation to reach 50% of adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Governor Lamont says that’s not good enough. He wants to use the money to get every person vaccinated.

Governor Ned Lamont is allocating $13 million in federal dollars to get hesitant people vaccinated.
But how will he do it? The dollars are broken up into grants. Going to cities, towns, and health departments with low vaccination rates.

“We were made aware last week that we’re expecting to receive approximately $2.7 million in grant funding,” said Mackenzie Demac, Chief of Staff, Waterbury Mayor’s Office.

Related: Gov. Lamont announces federal grants to 27 CT health departments to promote COVID vaccine equity

Waterbury is one of 27 recipients planning to use the money to go door-to-door, transport people to clinic, and partner with community organizations.

“Including the Waterbury PAL, the Hispanic Coalition, Grace Baptist Church, Madre Latina, New Opportunities, Community Health Center, the Greater Waterbury YMCA, the Greater Waterbury Health Partnership,” said Demac.

The grants will also create jobs.

“We’re preparing to hire approx. 36 individuals who will be ambassadors for the vaccine. They’ll help staff the mobile clinics, they’ll canvass, going door to door,” said Demac.

Towns like Canaan, Lyme, Old Saybrook have vaccinated more than 70 percent of residents. Hartford is on the flip side with some of the lowest rates in the state. But officials are hopeful that will change now that the feds resumed use of the one shot.

“We are starting to see here at the Health Department some additional interest in Johnson & Johnson, which I think is good. Folks are educating themselves,” said Liany E. Arroyo, Director, Hartford Department of Health and Human Services.

The city will use its funding to increase partnerships and the frequency of clinics offering people the option between J&J and Moderna.

An effort that paid off at a recent clinic where more than 60 people – mostly men of color – were vaccinated.

“We heard people come saying I came because I heard them talking about in on the radio. I came because the DJs on the radio said they had been vaccinated. I came because I want to travel,” said Arroyo.

For a full list of all 27 cities, towns, and health districts getting these grants, see below:

  • Bridgeport
  • Bristol-Burlington
  • Chatham Health District
  • Chesprocott
  • Danbury
  • East Hartford
  • East Shore District
  • Farmington Valley (FVHD)
  • Hartford
  • Ledge Light
  • Meriden
  • Middletown
  • Milford
  • New Britain
  • New Haven
  • North Central
  • Northeast District
  • Norwalk
  • Quinnipiac (QVHD)
  • South Windsor
  • Stamford
  • Stratford
  • Torrington
  • Uncas
  • Waterbury
  • West Hartford-Bloomfield
  • Windsor

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