September 20, 2021

COVID-19 vaccination support for hard-hit communities

Kaiser Permanente grants $400,000 to grassroots nonprofits in Hawaii.

Contact: Laura M. Lott
808-343-2406 (mobile)

HONOLULU — Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii announced grants to various Hawaii community organizations to help them remove barriers to vaccination among communities most impacted by COVID-19. The money, totaling approximately $400,000, will support equitable access to vaccinations.

“Our communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 are also the communities where vaccination rates are lagging,” said John Yang, MD, president and medical director for the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group. “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.”

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

  • Project Vision Hawaii received $150,000
  • Marshallese Community Organization of Hawaii received $75,000
  • Pacific Gateway Center received $75,000
  • Hui No Ke Ola Pono received $50,000
  • City Church received $60,000

The money will help these organizations provide culturally relevant vaccine content aimed at addressing hesitancy and correcting misinformation within their target populations. It will also help ensure the success of pop-up vaccination clinics by providing on-site support staff. Long term, the funding will support overall health equity such as encouraging well-child visits. Kaiser Permanente notes that routine vaccinations and checkups have declined due to the pandemic.

“In some areas we serve, such as Wahiawa, we are seeing vaccination rates as low as 35% to 45%,” said Terrina Wong, deputy director for Social and Immigration Services at Pacific Gateway Center. “To support the vaccine efforts in Wahiawa and the surrounding communities, where 26% of the residents speak a language other than English, the Kaiser Permanente grant has provided us with the resources for interpreters on-site to accommodate residents who speak 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. 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.”  

The grants are part of a comprehensive national Kaiser Permanente COVID-19 education campaign to fill information gaps and foster trust among communities most impacted by the pandemic. So far, Kaiser Permanente has provided $5 million in grants to support 24 nonprofit and community-based organizations that are providing direct assistance in communities across the United States to people most affected by COVID-19. The campaign is designed to encourage vaccination, motivate people to keep wearing masks, physically distance, and avoid gatherings until the pandemic ends.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 12.5 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.