Sep. 21—Kaiser Permanente Hawaii today announced about $400, 000 in grants to various Hawaii nonprofits working to remove barriers to COVID-19 vaccination, particularly among communities most impacted by the.
The grants were given to Project Vision Hawaii, which received $150, 000, the Marshallese Community Organization of Hawaii, which received $75, 000, Pacific Gateway Center, which received $75, 000, Hui No Ke Ola Pono, which received $50, 000, and City Church of Honolulu, which received $60, 000.
The money is expected to help the organizations provide culturally relevant information on COVID-19 vaccines to correct misinformation and address vaccine hesitancy within their target populations. It will also provide on-site support staff for pop-up vaccination clinics.
In some areas that Pacific Gateway serves, such as Wahiawa, COVID-19 vaccination rates are as low as 35 % to 45 %, according to Terrina Wong, deputy director for Social and Immigration Services.
Pacific Gateway is a nonprofit that empowers Hawaii's immigrants, refugees, and other vulnerable populations to rebuild their lives with various programs, including a kitchen incubator and farm-to-table entrepreneurship program.
Wong said the Kaiser grant has provided resources for interpreters to support vaccine efforts in Wahiawa and surrounding communities, where 26 % of the residents speak a language other than English, in Chuukese, Ilocano, and Tagalog.
"We understand that there are questions about the vaccine and the most effective way to approach those questions is with information from trusted sources in native languages, " said Wong in the news release. "The support and resources from Kaiser Permanente allow us to connect with communities who feel left out or left behind. We all need to work together to get more people vaccinated."
Long-term, the funding—part of a comprehensive national Kaiser Permanente COVID-19 education campaign—will support overall health equity by encouraging well-child visits. During the pandemic, routine vaccinations and checkups have declined, Kaiser noted.
"Our communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 illness are also the communities where vaccination rates are lagging, " said John Yang, MD, president and medical director for the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, in a news release. "By supporting trusted community-based organizations in their work, we can further efforts to disseminate educational materials and remove barriers to vaccine access, ultimately improving vaccination rates and bringing Hawaii closer to the end of this pandemic."