The funding will help address health disparities in rural and underserved communities.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Cooperative Extension Program has received a $26,794 grant as part of the national Extension Collaboration on Immunization Teaching & Engagement (EXCITE) project. The project is a partnership between Cooperative Extension and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The long-term goal of the partnership is to strengthen immunization education with a focus on adult vaccination hesitancy around both COVID and other adult immunizations, according to a press release. Iris Cole-Crosby, extension associate for UAPB, will oversee the grant. She said it will be used to address health disparities among rural and underserved communities.
“The main focus will be to identify the barriers for rural and underserved communities,” she said. “We will provide unbiased information to allow residents to make an informed decision to ‘vaccinate with confidence.’”
UAPB will be working in Lee, Jefferson, St. Francis and Little River counties.
“This is the first time all land grant universities – 1862, 1890 and 1994 – have been funded for such a project,” she said. “The project will be implemented by extension personnel who work with county Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program staff. We will be partnering with local nonprofits and health clinics.”
More than 2.1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Arkansas. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, nearly 12 percent have been administered to Black Arkansans and just over 6 percent have been given to Hispanics.