Public Health Officials launch a $5 million grant assistance program to fund
enhanced community vaccine awareness and understanding
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced the agency is accepting grant applications from organizations to help expand awareness and information about the COVID-19 vaccines and help increase vaccination rates in South Carolina. Our goal is to vaccinate as many eligible South Carolinians as possible and help end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recognizing that South Carolina is at a critical point in getting more people vaccinated and needs more local support, DHEC has launched an innovative grant assistance program to fund hyperlocal outreach efforts. DHEC will provide grants to applicants with the funding it received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DHEC is accepting applications today through Aug. 5, 2021. Details are available in the Request for Grant Assistance that’s available online here.
“DHEC and key partners across the state have done a yeoman’s job sharing essential COVID-19 information and working together to combat misinformation that leads to confusion and, in turn, hesitancy about the vaccines among South Carolinians,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director. “South Carolina is taking advantage of this federal funding to help ensure people in rural areas and minority or vulnerable communities receive the information they need to make informed decisions about vaccines from people they know and trust. Information sharing is more important than ever since South Carolina, and several other states, are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.”
The outreach initiatives to be provided by recipients of the grant will be centered on increasing community-level engagement that provides factual, easy-to-understand information about the safety, effectiveness, and benefits of COVID-19 vaccines and why they are essential to ending the ongoing pandemic. None of these activities will include unsolicited door-to-door residential outreach.
The grant recipients’ initiatives will include:
- distributing DHEC informational materials
- conducting safe in-person or virtual educational sessions with community members
- placing social media and other media advertising messages on channels designed to reach focused populations
- utilizing non-traditional outreach methods (informational signs at intersections, point-of-sale advertising, direct mailers, grassroots outreach, etc.)
- providing transportation to people who want to get vaccinated
The number of organizations receiving funding will depend on the applications submitted, however, DHEC anticipates awarding up to 25 grants totaling up to $5,000,000 for six months. Each award is expected to last for six months and can be renewed up to three times for a total period of two years.
“We have said many times that DHEC can’t end this pandemic alone,” said Dr. Traxler. “We need state and local officials, teachers and educators, faith and other community leaders, and the business community to be COVID-19 ambassadors. We are excited about the hyperlocal connections these organizations will make with people in their communities through this new federally supported vaccine effort as we continue to focus on saving lives and protecting all South Carolinians.”
For the latest COVID-19 information in South Carolina, visit scdhec.gov/vaxfacts.