FEMA Supports Vaccine Distribution: COVID-19 Response Update

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WASHINGTON -- FEMA continues taking action to support President Joseph R. Biden, Jr’s COVID-19 response plan, as Community Vaccination Centers opened Feb. 24 in Brooklyn and Queens, New York and Dallas and Houston, Texas. An additional center will open in Texas later this week, while four centers in Florida, four in New York and one in Philadelphia are scheduled to open next week. Earlier this month, two Community Vaccination Centers opened in California.

FEMA is working with other federal agencies to coordinate with state, tribal and territorial authorities and private sector partners and others to assist, augment and expedite vaccinations in the United States.

The agency is working to increase the weekly supply of vaccine to jurisdictions. Vaccine allocations to states, tribes and territories continue to increase, and starting next week the weekly vaccine supply to states will increase to 14.5 million doses.

FEMA has now provided more than $3.81 billion to 35 states, Washington, D.C., three tribes and five territories for expenses related to COVID-19 vaccination at 100% federal cost share. These funds cover critical supplies, staffing, training and transportation needs that support increased vaccination efforts .

Even as FEMA is focused on supporting vaccination distribution efforts, the agency is supporting multiple disasters, including the disaster declarations for Texas and Oklahoma. Since the Feb. 19 Texas declaration, we’ve awarded more than $9.4 million dollars to survivors. This assistance can help with temporary housing and home repairs and other resources to help eligible individuals and business owners start the recovery process.

FEMA and Other Federal Agencies Are Supporting Vaccination Centers

FEMA has deployed 1,741 staff across the nation to support the vaccination mission. A National Incident Management Assistance Team has deployed to Albany, New York, to support the state’s vaccination program.

On Feb 5. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas activated the DHS Surge Capacity Force for vaccination support operations. The surge force is composed of federal employees from other federal agencies to augment FEMA’s workforce. Twenty-five surge members are in Dover, Delaware, and 47 are en route to New Jersey to support vaccination efforts.

Additionally, 1,593 interagency vaccinators have deployed to Arizona, California, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Navajo Nation, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. More than 900 additional vaccinators are awaiting assignment.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is supporting future planning for Community Vaccination Centers using their subject matter experts, alongside FEMA and state assessment teams, assessing potential new center locations and providing contracting capability to establish new centers.

  • The U.S. National Guard Bureau is providing 1,198 vaccinators to 409 vaccination centers.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard has deployed 34 members to Hawaii, New Jersey and Oklahoma to support vaccination services.
  • Department of Defense Vaccine Support teams are in California, New Jersey, New York and Texas. Additional teams are scheduled to arrive in Florida, Pennsylvania and the U.S. Virgin Islands next week.
  • FEMA published a Community Vaccination Centers Playbook that establishes guidance for providing federal support to state, tribal and territorial Community Vaccination Centers. Playbook information includes interagency coordination, resource support, facility setup and other requirements for consideration.

Ensuring Equitable Vaccine Access

FEMA is committed to the equitable distribution of vaccines. We use data from CDC’s social vulnerability index, and work with our state partners to locate Community Vaccination Centers where they will be able to do the most good, for the most vulnerable populations and ensure everyone who wants a vaccine gets one.

President Biden announced the formation of a task force to address and prevent COVID-19 health inequities and ensure an equitable response to the pandemic.

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. FEMA published “Ensuring Equitable Vaccine Access” to define FEMA’s commitment to equity and describe the Civil Rights Advisory Group.

FEMA developed a Civil Rights Checklist to assist state, tribal and territorial partners in understanding and fulfilling their obligations to provide access to vaccine-related programs, activities and services in a nondiscriminatory manner. The agency is also coordinating translation and interpretation services.

Additional Vaccination Programs

In addition to Community Vaccination Centers, federal pilot centers and already established centers by states, tribes and territories will be administered additional federally allocated vaccines across the country via the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, Federally Qualified Health Centers such as community health centers and federal entities, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

Community Vaccination Center Pilot Partnerships

FEMA, in coordination with CDC and other federal partners, has developed tailorable packages to support establishment of Community Vaccination Centers in partnership with states, local, tribal and territorial governments.

The centers FEMA is piloting in locations such as California, New York and Texas are selected based on data analysis, including the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index and other Census data as well as input from our state and local partners. Input also includes localized considerations such as the existing deployment of resources and feedback from state public health experts.

Vaccine Guidance

According to CDC, more than 66.4 million vaccine doses have been administered. More than 88.6 million vaccine doses have been distributed to locations across the country. 

This week, CDC hosted 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.

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 United States 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.


On Feb. 2, President Biden directed FEMA to retroactively reimburse states for 100% of their costs for eligible emergency protective measures, including masks, gloves, emergency feeding actions, sheltering at risk populations and mobilization of the National Guard.

The President’s directive also directs FEMA to expand the activities eligible for reimbursement for work conducted after Jan. 21, 2021 and until Sept. 30, 2021. Reimbursement applies to eligible costs to support 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 incurred after Jan. 21.  

CDC has released updated guidance on how people can make sure their mask works the best it can, such as wearing a cloth mask over a medical mask. The CDC worked with the Ad Council to produce public service announcements to encourage and normalize the consistent use of masks.

On Feb. 5,  Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved 1,110 active duty troops to support vaccination centers.  An additional 3,610 active duty troops were approved on Feb. 12. FEMA will partner with the Department of Defense for additional resources at vaccination centers throughout the country as needed.

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.

As of Feb. 24, the Disaster Relief Fund balance is more than $12.7 billion. These funds will support continued response to COVID-19, including expanded vaccination efforts across the country by providing financial assistance to governments and other eligible applicants for vaccination efforts as well as personal protective equipment, alternative care sites and durable medical equipment.

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 appropriates $2 billion to FEMA to provide financial assistance to households for COVID-19-related funeral expenses at a 100% federal cost. Earlier this month, FEMA awarded a contract to help administer the program. At this time, the Funeral Assistance Program is still in development. FEMA will be working with the contractor on training staff and finalizing implementation of the program over the next several weeks.


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