YMCA of the USA Awarded CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Equitable Education Access and Funding

CHICAGO (April 30, 2021)—YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the national resource office for the nation’s nearly 2,700 YMCAs, announced that it has been awarded $3 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support YMCAs in improving COVID-19 vaccine education and ensuring equitable access to vaccines in their communities.

Y-USA will provide more than 100 grants to local Ys to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, counter vaccine misinformation, provide vaccine education, and increase vaccine access in underserved and marginalized communities. Y-USA is also partnering with the National League of Cities and the CDC Foundation to deliver on the goals of the initiative.

“YMCAs across the country are working with elected officials, health departments and other community-based organizations to reduce vaccine inequities and promote greater health equity overall in marginalized communities, and this funding from the CDC will help expand these efforts,” said Kevin Washington, President and Chief Executive Officer, YMCA of the USA. “The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the deep health inequities that Black and Brown communities have faced for centuries in the U.S. and around the world. We must continue to partner across sectors to close these equity gaps and improve health outcomes for all.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the CDC have reiterated the importance of preventing racial disparities in the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines to curb the health inequities that have surfaced in terms of hospitalizations and deaths among people of color and to prevent that equity gap from widening.

CDC has reported that hospitalizations and deaths to COVID-19 by race and ethnicity are all affected by underlying health conditions, socioeconomic status, access to health care and exposure to COVID-19 based on occupation (e.g front-line worker). According to CDC, Blacks, Hispanics and American Indian/Alaskan Native populations have rates 2 or more times that of whites of hospitalization (Blacks 2.8x, Hispanic 3x, and American Indian/Alaskan Native 3.5x the rate) and deaths (Blacks 2x, Hispanics 2.3x, and American Indian/Alaskan Native 2.4x the rate).

A recent KFF report that examined 48 states revealed there is a consistent pattern of Black and Hispanic people receiving smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their share of cases and deaths as well as compared to their shares of the total population. In fact, the report highlighted that overall, in 43 of the 48 states, the percent of white people who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose (35 percent) was 1.6 times higher than the rates for Hispanic and Black people, which were both 22 percent as of April 19, 2021. t

Specifically, Y-USA will fund projects that advance:

  • Direct to Consumer Education - strategies to improve vaccine education dissemination, collaborate to counter vaccine misinformation and to increase vaccine confidence, with the goal of reaching marginalized communities that are either underrepresented in or excluded from existing vaccine education campaigns.
  • New Partnership Development - strategies for identifying and partnering with stakeholder groups within the community viewed as leaders and credible sources of information among these priority populations to support and maximize vaccine education efforts and increase vaccine confidence.
  • Vaccine Access Barriers - strategies for working with local city leaders, health care partners and other community-based organizations to reduce barriers and ensure equitable access to the vaccine.

To accomplish the above, YMCAs receiving the grant will:

  • Work with local city leaders and other community-based organizations to establish new partnerships to reach marginalized communities.
  • Provide training and resources to support partners in the dissemination of vaccine education.
  • Convene local leaders, health care partners and other community-based organizations to identify current access barriers and to develop solutions for implementation (e.g., partner with city transportation officials to provide transport for individuals to and from vaccine appointments, or in partnership with local pharmacies, set up a network of volunteers to conduct vaccine appointment scheduling reminders to community members).
  • Establish, leverage and/or build upon existing partnerships to ensure equitable access to the vaccine throughout the community.

Y-USA will distribute the awards to local YMCAs in May and the work will commence in communities shortly after.


About the YMCA

Driven by its founding mission, the Y has served as a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community for more than 175 years. The Y empowers everyone, no matter who they are or where they’re from, by ensuring access to resources, relationships and opportunities for all to learn, grow and thrive. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, the Y’s goal is to improve overall health and well-being, ignite youth empowerment and demonstrate the importance of connections in and across 10,000 communities nationwide. ymca.net Opens a new window

Monday, May 03, 2021

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