Manitoba will be setting aside $1 million for grants of up to $20,000 that groups can use to reach out to people hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The grants will be available to cultural, arts, education, sports, religious, community and business organizations that can prove they can reach vaccine-hesitant people.

Provincial research has found out that the government is beginning to exhaust its ability to reach certain groups.

“We know, from our research and from the clinical leaders in our province, that there are thousands of Manitobans who are open to getting a vaccine but have yet to get one,” said Premier Brian Pallister.

“They need support in that decision. They need support from you. They need support from people they know. They need support from people they trust.”

The application process for the grants will open soon but first, the government wants to provide information sessions to interested organizations to explain what is expected. Registration for those sessions will begin right away at protectmb.ca.

The outreach work by the organizations will be done from June to September.

Research by the province suggests there are very few anti-vaccine people in Manitoba — about two percent of the population. The rest are vaccine-hesitant for various reasons, be it language barriers, cultural or religious concerns or wanting to know more about the science, or they’re just unable to get to a vaccine site.

One study, by Prairie Research, found 87 percent of respondents were keen to be vaccinated or are already, while five percent were not in a rush, another five percent were unsure if they would get a vaccine, and four percent stated they would not.