BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has approved a $200,000 COVID-related grant for one local college.

Authored by Dr. Albert Berkoh, the grant is being given to Bluefield State College to help minority populations in the area with COVID-related health issues.

According to the WV Department of Health and Human Resources, Mercer County currently has a 54.9 percent vaccination rate, yet only 5.5 percent of Mercer County’s African-American population is fully vaccinated.

“The initiatives of this grant include addressing the burden of COVID-19 health disparities among Mercer County’s African-American population and focus on increasing the immunization rate among the target population through a variety of community outreach activities,” Dr. Berkoh said

The two-year grant will supply Mercer County’s Health Department’s delivery to 25 Covid vaccination clinics per year at health care and community centers.

“This grant strengthens the relationship between Bluefield State College and the community. It will substantially reduce the spread of COVID-19 among African-American population and the underinsured populations of Mercer County,” Dr. Berkoh explained.