COVID-19 continues to heavily impact Southwest Washington, largely due to the delta variant. As our community deals with a growing number of cases, vaccination remains the best option for slowing the spread of the virus.
Marginalized communities are often disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Whether due to higher infection rates, limited vaccine access, or similar concerns, these communities have been among the hardest hit. SWACH received a $1 million grant to help address these issues directly. Our grant focuses on removing barriers to the vaccine in BIPOC, housing insecure, and medically underrepresented populations.
Through this grant, SWACH and its community partners are supporting additional Community Health Workers or CHWs. This workforce plays a unique role in helping individuals make important decisions regarding their health. Working closely with these partners and CHWs, SWACH aims to improve vaccination rates in Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania, and Klickitat counties.
Cultural responsiveness is essential to this project. With that in mind, SWACH will first work to establish trust in these communities. Along with our partners, we plan to engage and interact with the public in meaningful ways. Afterward, we will work on educating individuals about COVID-19, the vaccine, and other related topics, relying on the trust we have established in the community. Finally, we’ll ensure that the vaccine is accessible in the identified groups. We’ll also provide necessary resources for anyone that is recovering from COVID-19.
The grant runs for a full year, allowing us opportunities to adapt our strategies and meet the needs of the community. In the coming weeks, more information will be available regarding our plan and efforts to increase vaccine access in these communities. We are fortunate to be partnering with a number of organizations, including the Southwest Washington Equity Coalition (SWEC), in this project.
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1 million with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.