The mobilization effort to get underserved communities vaccinated for COVID-19 continues.

This month, the National Minority Health Association announced that it had received an $11.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration to develop a community-based workforce. Said workforce will become trusted voices of the community who will share information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The goal is to increase confidence in the vaccine so more people will get it, particularly in medically underserved, low-income communities who tend to be more at-risk for COVID-19 infection and death. These communities tend to be mostly Black and Latinx.

NMHA’s effort will focus on 12 states: California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Dr. Ian Smith, host of “The Doctors,” said that this effort is important in order to shore up the health of the population.

“I am very excited to see a mobilization of home health workers since they are on the frontlines of this pandemic,” stated Smith. “We seek to amplify their trusted voice and support the home health effort to reduce hesitancy about taking the vaccine—and I am glad to help.”

Some of those helping with the effort include Insignia Health, Nevvon Sage Growth Partners, Gather Voices and EagleForce Health/my/Vax.

NMHA assembled this network of supporting partners to help ensure a broad geographic reach and achieve the goal of getting as many people vaccinated as possible. NMHA plans on using those who have experience in marketing, social media, video production, content creation and other forms of communication to collaborate with “homecare agencies, home health workers, patients, consumers and multi-generational family networks in the fight against COVID-19.”

Burgess Harrions, executive editor of the National Minority Health Associations, said that he was honored that the HRSA saw value in NMHA and its goal of increasing public confidence to get vaccinated.

“Community health workers are a trusted voice within their respective neighborhoods and play a vital role in supporting this important effort to keep patients and loved ones safe,” said Harrison. “Our program is an example of health equity at work and achieves a key mission of NMHA as we serve populations that have historically suffered from poorer health outcomes, health disparities, and other inequities.”

Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa stated that trusted messengers will help increase the number of people vaccinated in underserved communities.

“This funding will support national, regional, and local organizations that will work directly with hard-hit, underserved, and high-risk communities to help bolster COVID-19 vaccination rates,” stated Espinosa.