ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque has been awarded a grant of close to $4 million to improve vaccination rates in minorities. It’s meant to help those who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city received the grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health to inform communities but also better prepare them for other health crises. “Those people who are Native American, Hispanic, African American, Asian, Pacific Islander, immigrants, refugees; These people who might not get the information from TV or newspapers, how do we get the information to them, to get information,” says Director of the City of Albuquerque Office of Equity and Inclusion Michelle Melendez.
The grant is is part of a $250 million initiative targeting 73 cities across the nation to improve a person’s ability to find, understand and use information and services to help them make health-related decisions.
Right now in New Mexico, fully vaccinated minorities are all below the state average. According to the New Mexico Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, the Native American population is 56.7 percent, African Americans 41.2 percent and Hispanics or Latinos are at 45.7 percent of those minority populations.
The grant is a two-year project that will allow health partners to hire at least 25 people who will help educate people and break any vaccine hesitancy. The main areas of focus in Albuquerque are people who live in the International District and South Valley. The city will partner with community health workers to help these communities gain access to other resources including access to rental assistance, utilities, employment, and food.