Funds will help individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) obtain knowledge and access to vaccinations.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced $8.1 million in grants has been awarded to organizations across the state to promote health equity in COVID-19 vaccination throughout the state. The investment aims to increase vaccinations by supporting organizations to serve as trusted messengers within their communities and reduce barriers that hinder vaccine access for marginalized or underserved populations.
Special Olympics Wisconsin received a grant for $99,965 to increase knowledge of and access to COVID-19 vaccines through outreach activities that will increase vaccination rates in individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). This population faces barriers to accessing medical care, has mistrust of the medical community and vaccines, and is at high risk of developing serious complications.
“Ensuring every Wisconsinite has access to quality, affordable healthcare is an essential part of our response to this pandemic and building strong, healthy communities,” said Gov. Evers. “We also know we must work to address disparities in access to healthcare services and providers both for the duration of this pandemic and beyond it. These funds will be critically important in our ongoing efforts to make sure every Wisconsin can access the safe, effective, and free vaccine.”
Through funding from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), DHS was able to offer an additional $13 million dollars for the Vaccination Community Outreach (VCO) Grant program, which originally distributed $6.2 million to organizations in early 2021. Each applicant was required to submit a plan that included the geographic area or target population they serve and a strategy to help overcome barriers to vaccination.
Awardees will use culturally relevant information and engage in outreach to promote vaccine acceptance. See the full list of awardees and brief descriptions of their plans.