DHEC pledges $5 million in grants to increase vaccination rate as infections rise across US


FILE – COVID-19 vaccine (Prisma Health)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) continues its vaccine outreach as infections rise across the U.S.

DHEC announced Friday, it’s accepting grant applications from organizations to expand vaccine awareness in its effort to raise the state’s vaccination rate. South Carolina has seen an increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 recently, reporting 314 cases on Friday.

DHEC said the state is at a “critical” point in the vaccination effort, therefore calling on a hyperlocal approach. Organizations can apply for the grants online, until Aug. 5.

“South Carolina is taking advantage of this federal funding to help ensure people in rural areas and minority or vulnerable communities receive the information they need to make informed decisions about vaccines from people they know and trust,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director, said. “Information sharing is more important than ever since South Carolina, and several other states, are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.” 

The initiatives will provide information on the safety, effectiveness and benefits of COVID-19 vaccines. The initiatives also include targeted social media posts, interstate signs and more. DHEC said the assistance also goes toward providing public transportation for folks to get vaccinated.

The health agency said it anticipates awarding up to 25 grants, totaling $5 million for six months. Each award can be renewed up to three times, lasing a total of two years.

“We have said many times that DHEC can’t end this pandemic alone,” Traxler said. “We need state and local officials, teachers and educators, faith and other community leaders, and the business community to be COVID-19 ambassadors. We are excited about the hyperlocal connections these organizations will make with people in their communities through this new federally supported vaccine effort as we continue to focus on saving lives and protecting all South Carolinians.” 

For local vaccine information, click or tap here.

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