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Low-income neighborhood groups are asked to spread the word about COVID vaccines

Max Schulte
VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System nurse, Lisa Lehning, shows C.L. Scribling the CDC vaccination card he'll receive after his shot of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Nearly a quarter of Monroe County's population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the vaccination rate in Rochester's low-income ZIP codes is just over 3%.

To address the inequity, the Rochester Area Community Foundation is launching a community vaccine education program.

Neighborhood groups located in 11 low-income ZIP codes can apply for grants of up to $3,000 to help spread the word and dispel myths about the vaccines.

"There are individuals in many of our low-income communities that are almost like the matriarch or patriarch of those communities, where individuals will come to them to get information, understand what's going on," said Maya Crane, the foundation's program officer for equity, who is overseeing the new program.

Crane said the grants can be used to cover the costs of transportation for people who want to get a COVID-19 vaccine, or to buy tablets or cellphones for those who need them to register for an appointment.

Community-based organizations can apply for the one-time grants online at

Those who receive the grants will be asked to collaborate with a COVID-19 resource organization, such as the Monroe County Department of Public Health, the Black Physicians Network, or the Black Nurses Association.

The Community Foundation is hosting a webinar on April 1 and April 6 for groups that are interested in the grant opportunity.