January 28, 2021

FEMA: Agency Supporting COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

In alignment with President Biden’s plan to respond to COVID-19, FEMA is supporting vaccination sites by providing expedited financial assistance, federal equipment and supplies and deploying federal personnel to states, tribes, territories and other eligible applicants for vaccination efforts.

FEMA has deployed staff to support coordination efforts in Arizona and Nevada at their state vaccination centers with personnel and technical assistance. Additional staff across the country are supporting virtually. As of Jan. 27, federally supported sites are operational across Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Washington.

To date, FEMA has obligated more than $1.2 billion to costs related to the COVID-19 vaccine mission and the ongoing battle against the pandemic.

Federal Funding to Accelerate State Vaccine Efforts

FEMA will provide reimbursement to states, local, tribal and territorial governments and the District of Columbia for the use of their National Guard to respond to COVID-19 and other assistance, which may include support to vaccination distribution and administration, at a 100% cost share until Sept. 30, 2021. Additionally, FEMA is supporting COVID-19 vaccine distribution by providing reimbursement to governments for costs associated with vaccine distribution and administration.

Providing funding to states, tribes and territories is an Administration priority. After a request is submitted, FEMA expedites reimbursement for eligible emergency work projects to ensure resources are available to support vaccine distribution and administration.

These funds cover emergency protective measures to include:

The costs of purchasing the vaccine and support kits are not covered by these obligations and do not duplicate any HHS funding.

Federal Coordination to Identify and Fill Resource Gaps

FEMA released “FEMA COVID-19 Vaccination Planning FAQ,” a document to help assist governments with their vaccine distribution efforts and reimbursements for associated costs. FEMA will work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies to ensure a coordinated approach to using Defense Production Actauthorities wherever necessary so private sector companies can increase vaccine supply and spur vaccine manufacturing.

FEMA and Other Federal Agencies are Supporting and Establishing Vaccine Sites

To reach underserved and rural communities, FEMA, in collaboration with federal partners, will coordinate efforts to establish and support fixed facilities and establishing pop-up or temporary vaccination sites and mobile vaccination clinics. FEMA will coordinate with other federal agencies to meet state, tribal and territory needs. FEMA is providing support to established vaccination locations, establish new community vaccination centers and support National Guard operations to expand access to vaccines. The U.S. National Guard Bureau is providing administrative and logistics support to vaccines sites in 22 states.

Vaccine Guidance

FEMA is working with the Ad Council to encourage hesitant or underrepresented Americans to get vaccinated. This research-driven public education campaign provides federal, non-profit, and medical stakeholders with insights and communications strategies to tailor communications to reach diverse audiences.

Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is limited, CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinatedfirst. CDC’s recommendations are based on those of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent panel of medical and health experts. Each state has its own plan for deciding which groups of people will be vaccinated first. You can contact your state health department for more information on its plan for COVID-19 vaccination.

The vaccine is not a perfect fix. Everyone should continue to practice other precautions like wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, handwashing and other hygiene measures until public health officials say otherwise.

FEMA is committed to ensuring every American who wants a vaccine can get one.  

This post was originally published here.