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FEMA Supports Vaccine Distribution Amid Winter Weather Response

Release Date Release Number
HQ-21-032

WASHINGTON—Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton is attending the opening of the first Community Vaccination Center in California today—at California State University in Los Angeles. The center is focusing on vaccinating underserved and historically marginalized communities. Another pilot Community Vaccination Center is also opening today in Oakland, California. Both centers are designed to administer up to 6,000 vaccines a day. FEMA is providing resources, operational and federal staffing support.

FEMA has now obligated more than $3.38 billion to states, tribes and territories, and Washington, D.C., for community vaccination centers. 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 people vaccinated.

Even as we continue working on vaccination distribution support efforts, FEMA maintains its mission readiness in supporting a variety of disasters, including recent snowstorms. A major winter storm is spreading from the Southern Plains into the Northeast through Tuesday, with a large area of snow, sleet and freezing rain expected. Significant travel disruptions are expected, and power outages are occurring as winter weather extends from south Texas into Maine.

  • Families and individuals should take disaster and emergency preparedness seriously.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms, and stay off the road during and after a winter storm.
  • Be prepared for winter weather at home, at work and in your car. Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, have a carbon monoxide alarm in place and only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows.
  • Visit Ready.gov today and make a plan for what you and your family can do to stay safe during a disaster.

An Emergency Declaration was approved for Texas on Feb. 14, which provides emergency protective measures for mass care and sheltering and direct federal assistance under the Public Assistance program. This assistance is for all 254 counties in Texas.

Last week, FEMA, and the state of Texas announced the launch of a pilot project to establish community vaccination centers in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. FEMA will provide resources, operational support and federal staffing support to establish these new centers, which are expected to be open to eligible members of the public beginning Feb. 24.

FEMA and Other Federal Agencies are Supporting Vaccination Centers

FEMA is seeking bids to contract medical personnel to help staff both federally supported and community vaccination centers around the country. The contracts will be awarded through the federal acquisition process and are expected to be completed by mid-March. FEMA has also finalized a contract for 30 mobile vaccination units.

As of Feb. 15, FEMA has deployed 1,279 staff across the nation to support vaccination centers with federal personnel and technical assistance.

FEMA published a Community Vaccination Centers Playbook that establishes guidance for providing federal support to state, tribal and territorial Community Vaccination Centers. Information includes interagency coordination, resource support, facility setup and other requirements.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is supporting future planning for community vaccination centers using their subject matter experts, alongside FEMA and state assessments teams, to assess potential new site locations and provide contract capability for establishment. USACE is also coordinating with FEMA and the CDC to design walk-up, drive-through and mobile vaccination centers. Vaccination center size and location are decided by state, local, tribal and territorial governments.

The U.S. National Guard Bureau is providing 1,201 vaccinators to 385 vaccination centers in 43 states and territories. Additionally, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III approved 1,110 active duty troops to support five vaccination centers. FEMA will be partnering with the Department of Defense for additional resources at vaccination centers throughout the country.

Ensuring Equitable Vaccine Access

FEMA is committed to ensuring every person who wants a vaccine can get one. Our agency and the CDC are working with state, local, tribal and territorial governments on the critical need to identify vaccine center locations that ensure vulnerable and under-served populations have access to vaccines.

FEMA established a Civil Rights Advisory Group to proactively consider and promptly resolve civil rights concerns and help ensure equity in the allocation of scarce resources including future vaccine allocation. This group evaluates policies, practices, strategies and plans to ensure equity is at the forefront of all FEMA vaccination efforts across the country.

FEMA has civil rights advisors and disability integration specialists in each of FEMAs regions to advise state, local, tribal and territorial governments and other partners. Additional disability integration advisors and civil rights advisors are deploying to support these efforts. The agency is also analyzing community demographics and coordinating translation and interpretation services.

Vaccine Guidance

FEMA is working with the Ad Council to encourage hesitant or underrepresented people 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 CDC Vaccine Task Force and Data Analysis & Visualization Task Force launched the CDC COVID Data Tracker Vaccinations Trends page. This page includes the overall trends of vaccinations over time in the US and for the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. Additionally, the CDC Vaccine Task Force is rolling out vaccine confidence consultations for interested jurisdictions. To request this service, interested jurisdictions can send an email to confidenceconsults@cdc.gov. CDC also has online tips for building vaccine confidence, and a Strategy to Reinforce Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccine resource.

The CDC is hosting a virtual National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccines for representatives from state, local tribal and territorial leaders, healthcare practitioners and community, education, media and private sector leaders who are part of the vaccination efforts.

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Last updated February 16, 2021