The Day – Ledge Light and Uncas health districts receive federal funding for vaccine equity

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As part of federal funding Connecticut received to improve access to COVID-19 vaccinations in underserved communities, Ledge Light Health District is receiving $ 288,199 and Uncas Health District is receiving $ 214,369.

Governor Ned Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Public Health announced Monday that 27 municipalities and local health departments, including Ledge Light and Uncas, have been selected to share more than $ 13 million to promote equity in vaccines.

“Our goal with the immunization program is to reach all Connecticut residents, especially those who have historically been underserved when it comes to accessing health care, transportation or other challenges,” said Lamont said in a press release. “Everyone deserves the right to access these life-saving vaccines.”

DPH had solicited applications for the funding of the grant; each candidate was to identify community partners and describe activities with these partners to address vaccine equity.

The governor’s office said these activities would include door-to-door and employer outreach, training-of-trainers programs, outreach to immigrant communities, transportation services and vaccinations for those confined to the city. home and the homeless.

Ledge Light deputy director Jennifer Muggeo said the health district partners were the Community Health Center, Hartford HealthCare, the Health Education Center, the Thames Valley Council for Community Action and the Health Improvement Collaborative of Southeastern Connecticut.

“One of our partners can focus on the homebound population, another partner can focus on school-aged populations, and another could do targeted clinics in underserved communities,” said Steve Mansfield, health director.

With vaccine supply now exceeding demand, Mansfield said this funding would go a long way as Ledge Light shifts from a mass vaccination clinic model to a more targeted approach, and most efforts will be pop-up clinics. .

Ledge Light runs a free walk-in vaccination clinic from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Tuesday at the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) in New London, and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Capitol Theater on Bank Street, for the city. the street event.

Mansfield said the use of the funds was a combination of increasing access to vaccines and tackling vaccine reluctance, while Uncas health district director Patrick McCormack said these goals go hand in hand. Uncas Health District subcontracts its work to TVCCA and United Community & Family Services.

McCormack said someone who will work on the grant, who is fluent in English and Haitian Creole, was helping at a vaccination clinic in St. Vincent de Paul Place on Monday with their food distribution.

He said that in many cases organizations are adding hours to an existing position or transferring someone’s responsibilities for a period, with the contract running from May 1 to August 31.

“I think the work of the health districts is very positive right now,” said McCormack, “but we continue to worry that we need sustainable funding and that we need to be prepared before the next crisis, and we need support to keep sustaining the work that we do on a daily basis, and it doesn’t come from a four month grant. “

Health districts receive most of their funding from member municipalities and grants. The statutory allocation to state health districts is $ 1.85 per capita, but the Legislative Appropriation Committee recommends an increase of $ 0.75 per capita.

In his role as chairman of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, Ledyard Mayor Fred Allyn III wrote to Lamont on April 28 asking him to support this increase, saying the current allocation “is insufficient for that they can meet the ever-increasing demand for their services. “

Mansfield said health districts had not seen an increase in the state’s per capita funding for more than a decade and had in fact seen the statutory requirement underfunded.

McCormack noted that tier funding is not enough for the health district to cope with increasing business-related costs, such as benefits, fuel, and postage.

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