BOSTON (AP) — About $3.2 million in grants and contracts have been awarded to community-based organizations to increase awareness and access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the 20 Massachusetts cities and towns hardest hit by the pandemic, the Baker administration announced Tuesday.

Seven new community-based organizations, community health centers, and behavioral health centers will receive $2.2 million to support vaccine navigation services and customized vaccine administration.

The organizations will help link individuals to vaccination services in the community, and directly administer vaccinations to groups that have not been reached by other outreach efforts.

Those groups include populations that may benefit from one-on-one vaccination support, such as substance use disorder treatment facilities, places of worship, homeless encampments, food pantries and congregate meal locations, LGBTQ community programs, shelters and day programs, and immigrant assistance centers.

An additional $1 million is being awarded to 23 organizations to support efforts to expand vaccine education and awareness that address the specific needs of the indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian, and other communities of color within the 20 prioritized communities.

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