The United States Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that it will invest $65 million in eight entities involved in a multilingual effort to expand access to vaccination against covid-19 in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
“Strengthening confidence in the vaccine is crucial to increasing vaccination, which remains so important when we promote booster shots and vaccines for children,” Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
Becerra said that the allocation of funds for the promotion of the vaccine “expands our progress in partnering with trusted local messengers to disseminate the necessary information about vaccines for covid-19.”
The allocation brings to almost $390 million the funds distributed by the Department of Health to 158 organizations within the “Covid Vaccine Task Force” program.
This program directs resources to public education, health fairs, the translation of documents into various languages in low-income areas, and the development of campaigns that take into account cultural and linguistic diversity.
One such group, the Public Health Institute (PHI), “currently works with Black, Native American, Latino, immigrant, and low-income elderly populations in 200 counties.”
PHI and its partners train “Vaccination Ambassadors” and “Health Promoters” to serve as messengers and participate in community conversations and phone and social media campaigns.
Promotoras are community health workers who engage with members of the community, often in Spanish, to provide information and connect patients with health resources in a linguistically and culturally appropriate manner.
Among the eight organizations included in today’s allocation is the San Francisco-based Association of Asian-Pacific Community Health Organizations, which will receive $9.8 million.
The Center for Global Innovation in Health, based in Atlanta, will receive an additional $9.8 million, and the Eye NJ A Nj Corporation, based in Fairfield, New Jersey, will receive a contribution of $6.3 million.
Becerra, a former California attorney general, has come under fire in recent weeks from both civil society groups and other cabinet members who see him as inactive in fighting the pandemic, according to The Washington Post.