TEXAS COUNCIL for
DEVELOPMENTAL
DISABILITIES

Request for Applications

Increasing Access to Information about COVID-19 Vaccines for Individuals with Disabilities

Request for Applications (RFA) Number: 2022-01

Key Dates and Deadlines

RFA Release Date: Sept. 24, 2021

Informational Webinar:

Oct. 12, 2021 – 1:30 p.m. CT (* see below)

Deadline to Submit Written Questions: Oct. 15, 2021
Email all questions regarding this RFA to apply@tcdd.texas.gov.

Estimated Date for TCDD to Post Questions and Answers: Oct.18, 2021
Note: TCDD reserves the right to amend answers prior to the deadline to submit applications.

Application Submission Deadline: Oct. 22, 2021, by 11:59 p.m. CT
Applications must be received by TCDD by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2021. Late applications will not be considered. Download the application (PDF).

Award Notification: TCDD will notify applicants about decisions within 30 days of the RFA closing date. Note: Review dates are subject to change.

Earliest Anticipated Start Date: Nov. 8, 2021

Informational Webinar

In order to expedite project activities, this application process has been modified and shortened. TCDD will hold a webinar to provide more information about TCDD’s processes for application review and grant award. Attendance is not required to be eligible to apply. The webinar will be held at  1:30 p.m. CT on Oct. 12, 2021. Register in advance for this meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Executive Summary

TCDD is seeking applications from eligible organizations to conduct communication and marketing activities to share information and resources that will reduce barriers and lead to an increase in the number of people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Groups that will be included in project activities are people with developmental disabilities (DD), their families, friends, caregivers, direct-support professionals, and other health care providers.

Outcomes will be achieved through community-based activities such as: development and distribution of educational materials about the importance of getting a vaccine; development and distribution of materials on how to access a vaccine at a clinic or at home; providing information about resources such as transportation or other supports to access a vaccine; and providing technical assistance to local health departments on vaccine accessibility. Communication and marketing products may include but are not limited to: print materials, videos, social media content, press releases, media advisories, and media pitches, outdoor and grassroots activation materials, community-based informational events, and the training and coordination of local peer-ambassador groups.

TCDD has available funding for one grant for up to $200,000. No match funds are required for this project. The project ends on Sept. 30, 2022.

Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Community Living (ACL), in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Funding awarded for a project will be dependent on the results of a review process established by TCDD and on the availability of funds.

For additional information regarding this RFA and TCDD, see Funding Available for Grants. All questions pertaining to this RFA must be directed in writing to TCDD at apply@tcdd.texas.gov.

Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. CT on Oct. 22, 2021.

Who May Apply

Public, private, nonprofit, academic, and other organizations are eligible to apply. The organization that applies for this grant must administer the grant and receive, disburse, and account for grant funds. Individuals are not eligible to receive this grant.

Background

A study across over 500 U.S. health care organizations revealed that individuals with DD are at substantially increased risk of dying from COVID-19. The American Association of Medical Colleges reports having an intellectual disability was the strongest independent risk factor for becoming infected with COVID-19 and the strongest independent risk factor, other than age, for COVID-19 mortality. Overall, patients with intellectual disabilities are six times more likely to die from COVID-19 than other people.

Vaccination can have a dramatic impact on people with DD. From December 2020 to February 2021, new COVID-19 infections among such individuals and their caregivers dropped roughly 80% in Tennessee, the first state to include people with DD in its initial vaccine rollout.

A CDC survey from April estimated that among all Americans, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy ranged from 3.8% to 25.6%. During that same period, about 27% of those with disabilities said either they would not get vaccinated or they were unsure, suggesting that vaccine hesitancy may be heightened in the disability community.  According to Emily Hotez, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UCLA, building trust with the community and spreading vaccine confidence takes time. The rise in the delta variant makes these communication and outreach activities even more important in reducing risk among individuals with DD.

Individuals with DD, family members, caregivers, and direct service professionals have expressed interest in tailored materials such as images depicting the process rather than just words. TCDD audiences have also expressed interest in talking directly with peers and having opportunities for conversations with medical providers about vaccine safety. Education for vaccinators is also needed to improve interaction when administering the shot, including physical, sensory, and communication accommodations for people with DD.

Project Description

The purpose of this RFA is to help TCDD develop communication materials and facilitate local outreach strategies, customized for local communities, to provide education and help reduce barriers to vaccinations.

Activities in this project should be related to the following areas:

  • Education about the importance of receiving a vaccine
  • Education about the safety of vaccines
  • Education about future recommendations for boosters and younger age groups
  • Helping with scheduling a vaccine appointment
  • Helping with arranging a community vaccine clinic
  • Arranging and providing accessible transportation
  • Providing companion and personal support
  • Identifying people unable to independently travel to a vaccination site
  • Providing technical assistance to local health departments on vaccine accessibility

Grantees will be expected to compile existing messages and materials about vaccination for individuals with DD from sources such as the CDC and other public health leaders. Grantees will also be asked to develop new products needed for Texas audiences, including but not limited to:

  • Individuals with DD
  • Family members of individuals with DD
  • Direct-support professionals and caregivers
  • Medical providers, including physicians, nurses, and others

Examples of communication and outreach activities and products for the above mentioned audiences may include but are not limited to:

  • Posters and other print materials
  • Content development for press releases and other media articles
  • Infographics
  • Social media content
  • Videos
  • Continuing education unit/continuing medical education (CEU/CME) programs for professionals
  • Toolkits for local peer ambassadors and other local partners
  • Collection of personal stories about vaccine experiences

Peer Ambassador Outreach Teams

Grantees will also be asked to oversee and manage peer ambassadors in local outreach groups across the state. This includes recruitment of peer leaders; connecting local teams; payment of wages to peer leaders; providing toolkits of print materials and electronic content to individuals and teams to distribute in their communities; and assisting peers in scheduling informational events and vaccination clinics in their regions.

This list is not exhaustive, and organizations are encouraged to submit their own innovative communication, marketing, and outreach strategies to address the previously mentioned categories that meet the needs of their community to reduce barriers to vaccinations among individuals with disabilities. Ideally, informational materials and resources developed through this RFA will be able to be replicated elsewhere in Texas or implemented statewide.

Outputs and Outcomes

The primary outcome of this project is increased vaccination among:

  • Individuals with DD
  • Family members of individuals with DD
  • Caregivers and direct support professionals

The organization that receives this grant must develop a methodology to track how their activities led to access to vaccination. This would include collecting email addresses, phone numbers, and other methods to follow up with individuals who receive information, education, transportation to a clinic, arranging for clinic or in-home vaccination, and other assistance in getting a vaccine.

Evaluation and Reporting

A leading priority of this effort is to ensure vaccines are equally accessible to individuals with disabilities. Organizations that receive this funding are required to provide data and progress reports on the activities conducted, challenges, successes, and lessons learned. Grantees should develop surveys and methods to track activities, demographics (gender, race and ethnicity, disability status), and the following measures:

  • Overall outcome (number): Number of people vaccinated as a result of implementing one or more of the service activities.
  • Collaboration with other community-based organizations (narrative): Describe the collaboration and joint activities with other community-based organizations, including successes and challenges in your collaboration efforts.
  • Overall lessons learned (narrative): Describe the key lessons learned as a result of your overall implementation activities.
  • Recommendations for future activities (narrative): Provide recommendations for TCDD and federal agencies to consider that will maximize the impact of future responses to disasters or pandemics.

TCDD will provide funding recipients with a link to a Qualtrics form to enter the data required in these measures.

Definitions

Addendum: a written clarification or revision to this RFA, issued by TCDD

(Agency) Authorizing Official: individual who has been authorized by the applicant organization to obligate the organization in a legally binding contractual agreement

Apparent Awardee: an organization that has been selected to receive a grant award through its response to this RFA but does not yet have a finalized grant agreement

Applicant: the entity responding to this RFA

Application: the complete set of forms, documents, and attachments the applicant completes and submits in response to this RFA

Award: funds provided to a grant recipient to carry out an approved program or project (based on an approved application). May also be referred to as “Grant” or “Grant Award”

Assurance: a written statement by an applicant, included with the application, indicating that the applicant will abide by specific requirements if a grant is awarded

Budget: the financial plan for carrying out a proposed project; the applicant provides a proposed budget as part of its response to this RFA. May also be referred to as “Project Budget”

Cost Reimbursement: a method of funding where a grantee organization must initially pay for project activities with its own funds. TCDD then issues reimbursement payments to the grantee on a scheduled basis for reported actual cash disbursement supported by adequate documentation.

Grant: a financial award provided to a successful applicant as a result of its response to an RFA. May also be referred to as “Award” or “Grant Award”

Grantee: the recipient of a grant award

Key Personnel: individuals who contribute to the programmatic development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they receive a salary or compensation under the grant

Outcome: measures showing benefits as a result of project activities, such as positive changes to knowledge, skills, or behaviors

Output: counts or percentages that show the number of activities delivered

Project: an organized activity or series of tasks with a well-defined purpose to achieve a specific goal or outcome. During the application period and before the grant award is made, a project may also be referred to as a “Proposed Project”

Successful Applicant: an organization receiving a grant award as a result of its response to this RFA. May also be referred to as “Awarded Applicant” or “Grantee”

Grant Award Term

Available Funding: The anticipated total amount of federal funding available for this project is up to $200,000 for the grant term. Funding is provided by the ACL, in partnership with the CDC. Funding awarded for a project will be dependent on the results of a review process established by TCDD and on the availability of funds.

Grant Term: The anticipated award period is Nov. 8, 2021 (earliest) through Sept. 30, 2022.

Match Funds (Cost Share): No match funds are required for this project.

Terms and Conditions:  Applicants must agree to the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions are as follows:

  • Applicants must disclose any conflicts of interest between themselves and TCDD Council members, employees, or their immediate families.
  • Applicants must use respectful language including people-first terminology where appropriate in all materials.
  • All printed materials must be available in Spanish and in an appropriate accessible format, including digital, tagged PDF, or large print. Funding for this should be included in the budget.
  • Videos, DVDs, and teleconferencing and distance-learning activities produced by this project must be fully accessible. Any videos or DVDs must be captioned.
  • TCDD will retain the rights to all products and other assets created using funding awarded through this RFA. The grantee will retain rights to materials that were created prior to receiving the grant and the rights to materials created without using funds that are associated with this project.
  • Proposals received by TCDD are subject to release consistent with provisions of the Texas Public Information Act.
  • Applicants may not use TCDD funds to supplant non-federal funds that would otherwise be made available for the purposes for which the funds are provided.
  • Applicants may not use TCDD funds to provide, duplicate, or replace services for individuals with DD and their families who are eligible for federal assistance under other state programs.
  • Funds awarded under this RFA may not be used for food, beverages, or promotional items.
  • TCDD reserves the right not to fund any proposal under this announcement. All funding decisions will be based on the availability of funds, and funding amounts for projects could increase or decrease.

See Assurances (PDF) for other terms and conditions relating to this RFA. The Assurances form must be signed and submitted as part of the application.

Application and Submission Information

General Instructions: All applications must be completed in their entirety and contain all required sections of the application. The required sections are as follows:

  • Applicant Information: information about the applicant organization
  • Project Workplan: description of project activities, including objectives and methods to be employed, and a project evaluation plan
  • Project Budget: listing of allowable expenses with justification of how these expenses will help to achieve project goals and objectives. Justifications must be detailed, explain the methodology used, and clearly show how the calculations were made.
  • Assurances: read and signed by the applicant organization certifying that it understands and will comply with TCDD assurances and all applicable federal and state laws and regulations

All applications must be responsive to all RFA requirements and signed by an authorized official in each place a signature is required.

All forms requiring signatures must be signed by an authorized official before being submitted.

Application Submission and Delivery

Deadline to Submit Applications: Applications must be received by TCDD no later than 11:59 p.m. CT on Oct. 22, 2021. Late applications will not be considered.

Delivery of Application: The application must be downloaded (PDF), completed, and submitted via email to apply@tcdd.texas.gov. Applications submitted by any other method (mail, email, facsimile, telephone) will not be considered. The application must include all required signatures. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. All applications become the property of TCDD after the submission deadline and will not be returned to the applicant. See Assurances (PDF)

for other terms and conditions relating to this RFA. The Assurances form must be signed and submitted as part of the application.

 

Alterations, Modifications, and Withdrawals: Prior to the deadline to submit applications, an Applicant may withdraw its application by submitting a written request to apply@tcdd.texas.gov. TCDD may request application modifications at any time.

Application Review and Evaluation

Initial Screening: TCDD staff review applications upon submission for compliance with the requirements of the RFA and ensure that all sections are complete. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the requirements of the RFA will not be considered.

Evaluation: TCDD staff will evaluate the applications that pass the initial screening. The evaluation will focus on the quality of the proposed plan, the feasibility of the plan, and how well the proposed project meets the intent, goals, and objectives of the RFA. The panel will only consider the contents of the application.

Negotiation and Award

Award: TCDD will notify the successful applicant exclusively by email of its selection to receive an award. The dollar amount awarded will depend on:

  • available funding;
  • applicant’s response merit and scope, and
  • review panel decision.

Any award resulting from this RFA will be funded on a cost-reimbursement basis and only to the extent the grantee commits, uses, and reports approved project expenses within each expenditure reporting period.

Under the cost-reimbursement method, the grantee must initially pay for project activities using its own funds. TCDD then issues reimbursement payments to the grantee monthly based on reported actual cash disbursements supported by adequate documentation.

All costs funded by the grant must be allowable, allocable, and reasonable. Grant applications must be supported by a detailed and realistic budget.

Negotiations:

Before finalizing any agreement, TCDD may enter negotiations with the successful applicant. The negotiations will be to determine the:

  • award period,
  • final award amount, and
  • terms of the grant.

Reimbursement is made only for allowable and reported expenses the grantee incurs within the grant term.

The negotiation phase involves direct contact between the apparent awardee and TCDD representatives and may be conducted via phone, email, or in person. An apparent awardee may expect in-depth discussions of the application and proposed project and requests for clarification or additional detail regarding the application and proposed project.

Final funding amounts and award terms are determined at the sole discretion of TCDD.

Notifications to Unfunded Applicants: After the application review and decision, TCDD will contact unfunded applicants exclusively by email to let the organization know that TCDD does not intend to fund the application.

TCDD Right to Cancel, Make Partial Award, or Decline to Award: TCDD reserves the right to cancel, make a partial award, or decline to issue an award under this RFA at any time at its sole discretion.

RFA Inquiries

All requests, questions, or other communication regarding this RFA shall be made in writing by email to apply@tcdd.texas.gov. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in disqualification of the applicant’s grant application.

The deadline to submit questions regarding this RFA is 11:59 p.m. CT on Friday, Oct.15, 2021.