(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Public Health today announced that 27 municipalities and local health departments in Connecticut have been selected by the state to share in more than $13 million in federal grant money to be used to form partnerships between local health, community organizations, and vaccine providers to promote and increase vaccine equity.
Connecticut received the federal funding as part of a nationwide effort to ensure people in underserved communities, including communities of color and ethnically diverse communities, will have equal access to COVID-19 vaccinations. Achieving a high rate of vaccination among state residents is imperative to efforts in Connecticut, and nationwide, to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Our goal with the vaccination program is to reach out to every Connecticut resident, particularly those who have historically been underserved when it comes to access to health care, transportation, or other challenges,” Governor Lamont said. “Everybody deserves the right to access these lifesaving vaccines. We need to do everything we can to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to receive this care.”
Earlier this month, the Connecticut Department of Public Health solicited applications from local health districts and departments for the grant funding. Each local health applicant was required to identify their community and provider partners and describe the activities that the partnerships would be undertaking to address vaccine equity in their coverage areas.
Contracts with each municipality or health department have not been finalized, so final grant amounts for each recipient are unavailable at this time.
Municipalities and health departments slated to receive funding include:
- Chatham Health District
- East Hartford
- East Shore District
- Farmington Valley (FVHD)
- Ledge Light
- New Britain
- New Haven
- North Central
- Northeast District
- Quinnipiac (QVHD)
- South Windsor
- West Hartford-Bloomfield
Community outreach activities to be undertaken by these unique partnerships will include: door-to-door canvassing, employer canvassing, outbound calling and texting, peer-to-peer training, public service announcement publication, train-the-trainer programs, and canvassing in immigrant communities. Grant money will also be used to support transportation services, homebound and homeless vaccinations, and fixed site and mobile vaccination programs.
“We are pleased and encouraged by the innovative partnerships and activities that this grant money will fund,” Connecticut Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said. “Improving our vaccination efforts for underserved and minority communities who have been hard hit by this virus is a high priority for the Department of Public Health and our partners in local health. We are hopeful that through this program we are going to see the equity gap close as we strive toward our goal of a statewide vaccination rate of 80 to 85 percent or better.”
“In order for Connecticut to beat this pandemic and resume life as normal, we have to make sure that we are not leaving anyone behind – especially those who have been historically underrepresented and underserved,” the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation – including Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and Representatives John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes, and Jahana Hayes – said in a joint statement. “The funding we secured in the federal stimulus bill will go a long way to promote vaccine equity and will make sure Connecticut’s vaccine programs reach everyone across our state.”
“The City of Waterbury is thrilled to partner with Governor Lamont and the State of Connecticut to expand ongoing efforts to support our most vulnerable residents overcome barriers to vaccination,” Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary said. “In conjunction with our on-the-ground partner organizations – including the Waterbury Police Activity League, the Hispanic Coalition, Grace Baptist Church, Madre Latina, New Opportunities, Community Health Center, the Greater Waterbury YMCA, Greater Waterbury Health Partnership – we are prepared to rapidly utilize this critical vaccine equity funding to increase grassroots outreach and popup vaccination clinic availability, hire community ambassadors, combat vaccine hesitancy, and substantially increase transportation assistance to and from vaccinations.”
As of April 29, more than 1.87 million Connecticut residents have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. Over 1.32 million individuals have received either both doses of the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines or the single-dose J&J vaccine. More than 78% of people 65 years of age and above in Connecticut, considered the most vulnerable to severe illness or death from COVID-19, are fully vaccinated.
For more information on Connecticut’s COVID-19 vaccine program visit ct.gov/covidvaccine.