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Gregg County Health Department plans to use federal grant to educate demographics with low COVID-19 vaccination rates

Published: Oct. 24, 2021 at 11:07 AM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - This week, the Gregg County Commissioners Court approved a $380,000 COVID-19 health disparity federal funding grant for the Gregg County Health Department.

“The four groups of people were the homeless, low-income, African American, Hispanic communities, to provide education and also try to get more vaccination rates if at all possible,” said Dr. Lewis Browne, the Gregg County health authority.

“Their percentages of the vaccine levels are below the average and we’re trying to reach out to those areas to get them involved in the process,” said Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt.

The grant will provide funding for educational programs and community outreach, like the collaboration this weekend at the East Texas Yamboree with the Vaccine Awareness Coalition and Health on the Move in East Texas.

“What we need to do is meet our clients where they are. And lots of times that literally means to go where they live and meet them where they are,” said Anita Lowe, a clinical instructor at the UT Tyler Longview Campus. “Specifically in communities that have a larger disparity related to social determinants and care.”

“There’s a lot of mistrust within certain communities, and so we’re trying to obtain, regain their trust,” said Ashley Sloan, Gregg County’s health department immunization program manager.

“We’re finally in the third, fourth quarter, we got it about the 20 yard line, and we want to take it over the goal line, but there’s still some areas out there that we got to address, and this grant is going to help us do that,” Stoudt said.

The next Gregg County Health Department community outreach is November 12th at the Highway 80 Rescue Mission.

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