Vaccinations get a shot in the arm with grant for vans to accelerate plan

Published 2:53 pm Thursday, March 11, 2021

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A grant totaling $541,700 has been awarded to the First Tennessee Development District Foundation (FTDD) from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Foundation (BCBSTF) which will accelerate vaccinations in Northeast Tennessee soon. 
The grant will pay for three mobile vans to speed vaccinations to rural areas. “We are extremely pleased in the support shown by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee to save lives by making vaccinations in our region more accessible,” says Lottie Ryans, Director of Workforce Development for the FTDD.
“The effort to apply for the grant has been underway since vaccinations first became available to the public and will help us serve remote and potentially underserved communities.”
BCBSTF awarded the grant based on the FTDD Foundation’s emphasis on both a public service campaign to encourage everyone eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and an imaginative plan to mobilize three teams of health professionals to visit locations where travel or access to mass vaccination locations may not be as accessible. These include mobile vaccination sites in Carter, Hancock, Hawkins, Greene, Johnson, Unicoi, Sullivan, and Washington Counties. “The research that provided us with valuable information in applying for the grant clearly pointed to younger people who might procrastinate on getting vaccinated and those who remain undecided,” says Miles Burdine, President and CEO of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. “For anyone who is still considering whether to be vaccinated, I hope that they will remember that being free from worry about the coronavirus is not just about themselves, but their loved ones and friends. It’s time that we put the pandemic behind us and get back to living. This grant will help us get there.”
“We will distribute information on when and where someone can visit one of the mobile vaccination locations through various means to make the information easy to access. The campaign will likewise provide information on the vaccines, the three currently approved vaccines and their benefit in eliminating the pandemic that has taken more than 1,000 lives here in our region in the past year,” says Ryans.

The grant and the effort to support the region through the campaign began as part of the Region A.H.E.A.D.alliance of local businesses to lessen the impact of the global pandemic in the area. The BCBSTF grant for NortheastTennessee was the fourth granted to organizations across the state.

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