To increase awareness about the flu and the number of Wisconsinites getting flu vaccines, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) today announced a new community outreach and education funding opportunity for community organizations.

Last flu season, 42% of people received at least one dose of flu vaccine, leaving two-thirds of Wisconsinites vulnerable to the flu virus. DHS strives to improve flu vaccination rates every flu season. However, this work is especially important this flu season because of the co-occurring COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to cause illness and deaths in families and to strain public health and health care system resources.

“Given the current pandemic’s impact on human life and health care resources, we need to protect ourselves and our communities from the flu by getting vaccinated,” said Interim State Health Officer Stephanie Smiley. “Getting vaccinated against flu by Halloween is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against flu viruses. This is why we are supporting our local partners with messaging and education that resonates with local communities and responds to their unique needs.”

DHS is inviting community organizations in the state to apply for funding to support community organizations’ flu-related messaging and education to the public, particularly groups that have been marginalized, underserved by health care and public health systems, and/or have been disproportionately affected by influenza and/or COVID-19. DHS intends to award the $950,000 grant, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to 5-10 community organizations. Each organization will receive up to $200,000 depending on types of outreach and education it proposes completing.

The goal of the flu-related messaging and education is to increase public knowledge and awareness of factors such as:

  • Getting vaccinated against flu is a normal and healthy behavior.
  • Knowing where to get flu vaccines, particularly for uninsured or underinsured people.
  • Dispelling common myths about flu infections and vaccines.

These actions will lead to more people getting vaccinated this flu season. This is critical to protect people and families against flu and conserving health care resources for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Grant applications are due by 4 p.m. CST on September 28, 2020. To apply, visit, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the funding opportunity entitled, “Improving Influenza Vaccination Rates through Community Outreach.”

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