State Health Dept. offering grants to help vaccination of minority groups

Vaccinating minorities in Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Reaching as many Alabamians as possible is what health officials say it’s going to take to reach heard immunity.

That includes all populations of people.

African-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics; this is the target group for a grant program offered by the state health department.

Mary Elizabeth Marr, CEO of Thrive Alabama, says she wants to help vaccinate as many minorities as possible.

“Underserved populations are just not getting themselves in to get vaccinated,” Marr said.

Thrive Alabama Clinic is in the process of submitting its application for a state grant to fund its vaccination efforts.

“People can come in and they can get either a COVID test, either a PCR or a rapid test for COVID, a flu vaccine if they haven’t received that, or a COVID vaccine,” she explained.

However, she says that can only happen with the necessary funding.

The grant is open to community health centers like Thrive, pharmacies, colleges, and more, and those selected will receive between $100,000 and $250,000.

Marr says it’s clear that strong outreach is needed.

“I think that there is mistrust of the medical system itself is part of it. We want to make sure that everyone knows it is completely safe,” she said.

Don Darius Butler, pastor of the First Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville agrees.

“I’d rather trust the science as persons who are highly respected as experts have given us than to deal with the effects of COVID now. I mean, I just got report today of a family of four in our congregation who have COVID-19,” Butler said.

Dr. Landers with the State Health Department says they are working on adding a break down of who has received the vaccine by race on the online portal.

WAFF is told the money will be distributed July 1. The deadline to apply is March 31.

General information about COVID-19 is available through the COVID-19 Information Hotline number, 1-800-270-7268, and at alabamapublichealth.gov.

You can also access the COVID-19 vaccine information portal here, https://www.alcovidvaccine.gov/

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