New $1 million grant from the Foundation provides access to COVID-19 vaccines in King County communities most impacted by the pandemic
As Washington expands its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, many communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic are experiencing substantial barriers accessing the vaccine. To address this disparity, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation is partnering with Harborview Medical Center/UW Medicine to deliver COVID-19 vaccines directly to underserved communities in King County. The initiative is supported by the Foundation and other partners in the region, including the Seattle Mariners, Cambia Health Foundation, Starbucks and foundry10.
“As vaccination availability turns the tide in this pandemic, the Foundation continues its commitment to improving and expanding equitable access to COVID-19 resources," said Lara Littlefield, director of science and technology partnerships, on behalf of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “These targeted funds will support vaccine delivery to underserved communities across our region and help close the vaccine equity gap that leaves some of our communities more vulnerable.”
COVID-19 has severely affected some communities more than others. King County data shows that despite Black and Hispanic residents experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 infection, they are receiving the vaccine at slower rates than the county overall. Even more stark, a small proportion of those experiencing homelessness have been vaccinated, despite facing higher risk of hospitalization and serious illness once infected. Bringing vaccine education and access directly to King County’s most impacted communities will be critical to reducing hospitalizations, lowering infection rates, and bringing about an end to the pandemic.
The Foundation’s grant of $1 million will directly target vaccinations for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) residents and those experiencing homelessness. At full operation, UW Medicine’s efforts will deliver up to 14,500 vaccines per month to the region’s most vulnerable communities and geographic locations. The initiative will use mobile vaccination teams staffed and operated by Harborview Medical Center, pop-up vaccine clinics, and the Harborview COVID-19 vaccination clinic to reach residents across King County. In addition to vaccine delivery, the funds will also allow UW Medicine to partner with community organizations and leaders to disseminate accurate vaccine information and build trust in the vaccination efforts themselves. Given historical lack of access to quality health care, BIPOC communities need reliable information from trusted community leaders.
“Our ability to end this pandemic quickly and save lives depends on improving access to the vaccine and providing vaccine information in those communities most burdened by COVID-19,” said Dr. Lisa Chew, associate medical director of Ambulatory Services at Harborview Medical Center and associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “We are so thankful for the quick action of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and other key supporters whose generosity and partnership will help us vaccinate thousands of people in King County.”
This grant continues the commitment of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, UW Medicine, and Harborview Medical Center to support those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. The Foundation’s early $2 million grant to UW Medicine’s Emergency Response Fund launched UW Medicine’s mobile testing program in underserved communities, which has conducted more than 10,000 COVID-19 tests since April 2020 and whose infrastructure is making this vaccination program possible. This funding round also builds on the Foundation’s previous COVID-19 support to multiple organizations in the Pacific Northwest, totaling $13 million.
About Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
For more than three decades the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has focused on changing the trajectory of some of the world's toughest problems. Founded by philanthropists Jody Allen and the late Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, the Foundation initially invested in community needs across the Pacific Northwest with a focus on regional arts, underserved populations, and the environment. Today, the Foundation supports a global portfolio of frontline partners working to preserve ocean health, protect wildlife, combat climate change, and strengthen communities.
About UW Medicine
UW Medicine is one of the top-rated academic medical systems in the world. With a mission to improve the health of the public, UW Medicine educates the next generation of physicians and scientists, leads one of the world's largest and most comprehensive biomedical research programs, and provides outstanding care to patients from across the globe. Our family of nearly 30,000 healthcare providers, researchers, faculty and staff include Airlift Northwest, Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center Montlake and Northwest campuses, UW Neighborhood Clinics, UW Physicians, UW School of Medicine and Valley Medical Center. The School of Medicine faculty is second in the nation in federal grant funding with $960 million of federal grants in 2019 according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
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