Texas A&M Health, DSHS to award $10 million in grant funding for vaccine outreach across Texas

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 11:16 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The Texas A&M University Health Science Center is teaming up with the Texas Department of State Health Services to award $10 million in grant funding for vaccine outreach programs across Texas.

The university says the funding will support community-based organizations like churches or nonprofits to implement COVID-19 vaccine education activities. The goal is to boost vaccination rates and public confidence in the vaccines.

“It’s a combination of not just getting information out there, but having it delivered by an appropriate person that that community listens to,” Texas A&M Health Associate Vice President Olga Rodriguez said. “It’s also to be able to communicate and link up with vaccine providers. We don’t just want to dump information somewhere. We want to make sure that they know where they can get the vaccine.”

Rodriguez says they’re looking for very community-specific ideas in successful applications.

”We know that Texas communities all over the state are very different, so we want to hear what is your community-specific approach to addressing vaccine hesitancy,” Rodriguez said. “What is it about your community that would move the needle?”

Rodriguez says vaccine hesitancy is high in some communities because of the messaging, while in others it’s due to where that messaging is coming from.

“Some communities don’t want to hear from a health entity, but they will listen to their pastor and get information from there,” Rodriguez said. “We’re excited about these grants because they’re very localized and based on local messaging and questions.”

Priority will be given to applicants who focus on reaching communities of color, Texans with disabilities, and rural communities. 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. Rodriguez says they hope to begin awarding the money to successful applicants as early as August.

If you’d like to apply for a grant or get more information, click here.

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