April 8, 2021

Cameron Foundation awards $230,000 COVID vaccine outreach grant to Crater Health District

The Cameron Foundation has approved a proactive $230,000 emergency grant to the Crater Health District to immediately hire five new community health workers to expand outreach for COVID vaccines. The workers will focus on serving hard-to-reach populations in five local cities and counties that have “vaccine hesitancy” and/or difficulty in accessing technology to navigate vaccine registration systems.

“This is an urgent need for our region,” explained Cameron’s Board Chair, J. Tolleison Morriss, VI. “Recent data on COVID vaccine rates shows that this area continues to lag behind the state average, and these additional resources will help to close that gap.”

With the funding, Crater Health District will quickly hire five new community health workers to conduct grass roots outreach in the region. One position will be placed in each of the five localities to be served – Dinwiddie, Hopewell, Petersburg, Prince George and Sussex. According to the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine data, 15.8% of Virginia’s population was fully vaccinated as of March 31, 2021. By comparison, the rate was 11.4% across the five areas that Crater Health District will target with this grant.

The health district is working with a state vendor to expedite the hiring process. The community health workers will focus on assisting residents who do not have access to a computer or the internet. They also will conduct educational outreach to individuals with vaccine hesitancy and/or misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. According to Crater Health District, such a strategy is highly effective in reaching disadvantaged and at-risk populations. This new, $230,000 award also builds on a $12,195.40 discretionary grant that Cameron made to Crater Health District earlier in the year to purchase an ultra-cold freezer to store the Pfizer vaccine in rural Sussex County.

“Cameron’s proactive funding gives us the flexibility to address immediate needs that cannot be served through the Foundation’s regular, responsive grants program,” explained Cameron President J. Todd Graham. He added, “In this case, we were better able to respond to the urgency in deploying these community health workers in tandem with other vaccine outreach efforts across the region.”

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