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FEMA Supports Vaccine Distribution: COVID-19 Response Update

Release Date Release Number
HQ-21-013
Release Date:
January 25, 2021

WASHINGTON -- FEMA is helping identify and fill resource gaps, using federal funding to accelerate state vaccination efforts and working to establish vaccine sites, in alignment with President Joseph R. Biden’s COVID-19 response plan. FEMA is supporting our governmental and private sector partners to augment and expedite vaccinations in the United States by providing expedited financial assistance to states, tribes, territories and other eligible applicants for vaccination efforts and deploying federal personnel to support vaccination sites in addition to federal equipment and supplies.

Identify and Fill Resource Gaps

FEMA established a new Interagency Vaccination Task Force in FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center and is deploying FEMA staff to vaccination sites in support of state requests.  This new task force is developing data dashboards to track personnel movement and vaccine distribution.

In order to allow private sector companies the ability to increase vaccine supply, FEMA will work with the U.S. Health and Human Services and other federal agencies to ensure a coordinated approach to using Defense Production Act (DPA) authorities.

Additionally, 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 support a whole-of-government federally led, locally-focused public education campaign to help educate Americans on CDC and health officials’ protocols and safety procedures for the vaccine.

Accelerate State Vaccine Efforts

FEMA will provide reimbursement to states, local, tribal and territorial governments and the District of Columbia for use of their National Guard to respond to COVID-19 and other assistance at a 100% cost share until Sept. 30, 2021.

The agency will expedite reimbursement for eligible emergency work projects as appropriate and consistent with applicable law. Such assistance may include but is not limited to:

  • Leasing facilities or equipment to administer and store the vaccine.
  • Providing personal protective equipment and disinfection services and supplies.
  • Paying staff overtime for vaccine administration or logistics.
  • Contracting additional staff.
  • Training personnel on vaccine distribution and administration.
  • Supplies for administration sites.
  • Using technology to register and track vaccine administration.
  • Providing public communication on vaccine efforts.

Additionally, FEMA will provide reimbursement to state, local, tribal, territorial governments and the District of Columbia for the safe opening and operation of eligible schools, child-care facilities, healthcare facilities, non-congregate shelters, domestic violence shelters, transit systems and other eligible applicants. 

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 appropriates $2 billion to FEMA to provide financial assistance to individuals and households for COVID-19-related funeral expenses. The appropriation currently covers eligible funeral expenses that were incurred through Dec. 31, 2020. The legislation further specifies that there is no cost sharing requirement associated with this assistance. FEMA is reviewing the legislation and evaluating potential options for implementation. FEMA will make assistance for eligible expenses available retroactively upon implementation.

Establishing Vaccine Sites

The Interagency Vaccination Task Force and FEMA’s regional offices will provide support to established vaccination locations, establish new community vaccination centers and support National Guard operations to expand access to vaccines.

CDC Vaccine Guidance

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 COVID-19 vaccination plan.  Because COVID-19 vaccine supply is limited in the United States, CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. CDC’s recommendations are based on those of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts.

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

Since the onset of the pandemic, FEMA has been part of the COVID-19 whole-of-government response. Prior to the executive orders to expand vaccination efforts, FEMA obligated more than $57.5 billion toward COVID-19 response efforts. FEMA is committed to helping Americans in their time of need and we will continue working with our partners to stop the spread of this disease.

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Last updated February 14, 2021