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FEMA Supports Vaccine Distribution: COVID-19 Response Update

Release Date:
February 4, 2021

WASHINGTON -- As of Feb. 3, there are 130 federally supported sites operational across the country. FEMA has deployed 449 staff to provide personnel and technical assistance and additional staff are supporting virtually. As the number of states with obligations increases, we will work alongside other federal agencies to provide federal support for critical staffing, supplies and other shortfalls that can help get more Americans vaccinated.

The federal government is partnering with state governments to launch a small number of pilot community vaccination centers using primarily federal staff to support state and local governments.

On Tuesday, FEMA, and the state of California partnered to launch a pilot project to establish community vaccination sites  in Los Angeles and Oakland. FEMA will provide resources, operational support and federal staffing support to establish these new centers. The centers are expected to be open to eligible members of the public beginning Feb. 16. Piloting these sites allows FEMA and its federal partners to ensure the success of a small number of sites before preparing additional support as vaccine supplies ramp up in the weeks and months ahead.

Federal Funding to Accelerate Vaccine Efforts

As of Feb. 3, FEMA has provided more than $1.76 billion to states, territories and tribes for expenses related to COVID-19 vaccination at 100% federal cost share.

These funds cover emergency protective measures to include:

  • Supplies and commodities needed to safely store and administer the vaccine.
  • Transportation support and reasonable, necessary security for refrigerated trucks and support for leasing space to store and/or administer vaccines, including utilities, maintenance and security.
  • Medical and support staff, including onsite infection control measures, personal protective equipment for staff, cloth face coverings for patients, temperature scanners, physical barriers and disinfection of the facility in accordance with CDC guidance.
  • Dissemination of public information and communication regarding vaccinations.

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, reviewed and validated, FEMA can expedite reimbursement for eligible emergency work projects to ensure resources are available to support vaccine distribution and administration.

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 is working closely with state, local, tribal and territorial governments to fill gaps that local health officials have identified. Additionally, emergency managers are working closely with appropriate health officials.

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 Act authorities wherever necessary so private sector companies can increase vaccine supply and spur vaccine manufacturing.

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. 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.

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