The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition have selected Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership leading the Bucks County Immunization Coalition, among others, to receive funding to address access to and education around vaccines, particularly the COVID-19 vaccine, in their community.
Driven by current data surrounding COVID-19 cases, hospitalization and deaths, as well as anti-vaccine rhetoric circulating in communities, the PA AAP and PAIC designed the grant to address equity, engagement, access and resource barriers related to communities’ vaccine uptake, or lack thereof.
“BCHIP is grateful for the opportunity to lead the BCIC to support the immunization needs in our Bucks County community. We are confident that these funds will help prevent disease and save lives for our most vulnerable residents,” said Kimberly M. Everett, BS, MA, executive director, Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership.
BCHIP, along with 22 other state and local organizations and immunization coalitions, was selected from a strong pool of applicants to utilize funds, up to $250,000, to execute an array of educational and community-building efforts over a two-year period.
BCHIP aims to use its allotted monies to produce targeted vaccine clinics, lifetime vaccine education and community outreach for the most vulnerable populations in Bucks County.
In December 2021, the PA AAP and PAIC launched the grant program, awarding funding to 16 organizations through June 2022. After a thorough review of grantees’ final reports, both organizations are eager to build on these efforts.
PA AAP president Dr. Mary Ann Rigas, MD, FAAP, said of the new cycle, “Given the success of grantees from the first round in expanding access to immunizations, the PA AAP and PAIC are excited to extend the grant period to a full fiscal year, enabling our community partners to protect more Pennsylvanians against vaccine-preventable diseases.”
PAIC chairperson Lyn B. Robertson, DrPH, RN, MSN, who establishes PA AAP and PAIC’s goals for the grant, said, “COVID-19 vaccination and boosters rates remain a priority as the virus continues to be highly contagious and mutate. As vaccine skepticism and misinformation persists in inhibiting our efforts, it remains imperative that our communities reduce transmission of COVID-19 and prevent outbreaks of all vaccine-preventable diseases.”
The grant period for this initiative runs from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2024, at which time the PA AAP and PAIC will evaluate, in full, the impact of the funding on vaccine uptake and existing barriers to immunization. For more information on the grant, its yield and future grant opportunities, contact Kayla Knock, MPH, immunization program manager, at email@example.com.