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United Way tackles vaccine reluctance with grant | News, Sports, Jobs


A River Valley Health nurse, left, gives a COVID-19 booster shot to Williamsport’s Cathy Snyder, right, at the Sojourner Truth Ministries health and resource fair on Friday in Williamsport. The COVID-19 vaccinations were in conjunction with a Lycoming County United Way campaign to tackle vaccine reluctance. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY / Sun-Gazette

A $ 100,000 grant from Temple University will help Lycoming County United Way address the issue of vaccine reluctance in the community.

“It’s based on trauma” Ron Frick, CEO of Lycoming County United Way, said.

“We are not going to go out and make judgments. We will provide the facts. We will provide statistics. We will provide testimonials.

“We will try to approach the community, especially areas of the community that are underserved.”

“We’re going to try to work with organizations like River Valley Health and Dental… just to talk about the value of immunization,” he added.

Lycoming County United Way President and CEO Ron Frick, left, and Director of Community Impact JanAnn Todd, second from left, chat with Krista Snyder, Sojourner Resources Advocate Truth Ministries, and Maigrette Polanco, chair of the board of directors of Sojourner, right, at the Sojourner Truth Ministries Health and Resource Fair on Friday. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY / Sun-Gazette

The Health Resources and Services Administration had authorized a total of $ 3.5 million in grants. Temple obtained the grant and then selected through an application process sub-recipients, such as United Way.

The original program began in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. According to Temple information, the ultimate goals of the project are to prevent transmission of COVID-19, increase access to vaccines and reduce vaccine reluctance, and provide the resources communities need to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the medical level.

underserved urban, suburban and rural communities. It focuses on improving health outcomes among racial and ethnic minority groups, English language learners and vulnerable populations including the elderly, adults with intellectual and other disabilities or chronic illnesses in the counties of the state.

Frick noted that he had previously been in contact with other community organizations such as the Health Improvement Coalition and Let’s End COVID! work with them because they have already done a lot of work in this area.

“Much of it is going to be, how do I start conversations in neighborhoods? “ said Frick. “How to work on the block? How do I get people to come to the Y and discuss why they don’t get the vaccine or why they are? Try to get regular people to testify. “

While applauding the efforts of community leaders to give testimonials as to why they got vaccinated, Frick thinks it’s equally important to make people aware of the stories of the average people they know.

“Just get more people to say it’s not a political problem” he said. “It’s a problem because I trust the people around me who said I should do it.”

As part of the grant, Centraide may spend part of the money on advertising and also on incentives.

“One of the things we’re going to talk about at Sojourner is, let’s just say you feed 100 people and 50 aren’t vaccinated, aren’t they vaccinated because they don’t want to be? Are they not vaccinated because they cannot be or are they not vaccinated because they cannot get there ” said Frick.

Frick said that with the funding from the grant, he had the opportunity to purchase bus passes for people to eliminate the transportation problem.

Once people go to a vaccination site and return with proof of their first vaccination, they are given another $ 10 gift card. If they receive a second injection, depending on the vaccine they received, they will receive a gift card to encourage them to continue and be fully immunized.

Frick said he was allowed to spend up to a certain amount per person on incentives to get them to take the hit.

“He tries to find different solutions to the same problem”, he explained.

The grant also allowed Centraide to hire outreach specialists to organize health fairs and talk to the community.

“We are going to work with the UPMC and other people in the community to try to make people understand, it’s another look. “ he said.

Frick said it was possible that even if the vaccination rate didn’t increase much, it would still be worth it.

“If I get one more person vaccinated, if it saves a life… what is your life worth?” It’s probably over $ 100,000 ”, he said.

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