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FEMA Supports Vaccine Distribution: COVID-19 Response Update

Release Date Release Number
HQ-21-053
Release Date:
March 3, 2021

WASHINGTON -- FEMA continues working to ensure anyone who wants a vaccine can get one, offering live on-demand American Sign Language interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing community at all federally supported community vaccination centers. The service is available every day of the week during each center’s hours of operation.  

FEMA is working to speed up vaccinations by supporting states as they open community vaccination centers across the country. Additional FEMA supported pilot community vaccination centers are opening today in:

  • Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa, Florida.
  • Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Yonkers, New York.

Additional centers will open next week in Chicago and Greensboro, North Carolina.

FEMA continues providing critical support with personnel, supplies and funding, establishing or expanding more than 450 community vaccination centers nationwide. Additionally, 55 mobile vaccination centers are also serving communities across the nation.

In addition to Pfizer and Moderna, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is being delivered to three federal pilot community vaccination centers in California, Florida and Texas this week.

FEMA has now provided more than $4.02 billion 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 remains focused on supporting vaccination distribution efforts, the agency continues supporting multiple disasters, including the disaster declarations for Texas and Oklahoma winter storms. FEMA has awarded more than $46.6 million dollars to Texan survivors and over $192,000 to Oklahoman survivors. This assistance can help with temporary housing and home repairs as well as other resources to help eligible individuals and business owners start the recovery process.

FEMA and Other Federal Agencies Are Supporting Vaccination Centers

FEMA has now deployed 1,992 staff across the nation to support the vaccination mission. On Feb. 5, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas activated the DHS Surge Capacity Force (SCF) for vaccination support operations. The SCF is composed of federal employees from other federal agencies to augment FEMA’s workforce. As of March 2, 108 SCF members are deployed to support vaccination efforts.

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

The U.S. National Guard Bureau is providing 1,652 vaccinators to 697 vaccination centers.

Additionally, 1,323 interagency vaccinators and 1,316 clinical staff have deployed to support states, tribes and territories. More than 500 additional vaccinators and clinical staff are awaiting assignment.

The U.S. Coast Guard 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 this week.

Ensuring Equitable Vaccine Access

FEMA has civil rights advisors and disability integration specialists in each of FEMA’s 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.   

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.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) partnered with the CDC to launch the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program. The program is being rolled out incrementally at select HRSA-funded health centers that specialize in caring for hard-to-reach and disproportionately affected populations.

Initial health centers chosen for this program include those that serve a large volume of at least one of the following populations:

  • Individuals experiencing homelessness.
  • Public housing residents.
  • Migratory and seasonal agricultural workers.
  • Patients with limited English proficiency.

HRSA will regularly update the list of health centers participating in the program and additional health centers invited to participate

Additional Vaccination Programs

 FEMA is taking steps to build the infrastructure so it can adapt when vaccine supply is more readily available.

In addition to community vaccination centers, federally allocated vaccines continue to be administered across the country via:

  • The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which is a partnership between the federal government, states and territories, and national and independent pharmacy networks across the United States.
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers such as community health centers.
  • Federal entities, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

Vaccine Guidance

Find vaccine updates in your community and more information from your local health department to confirm if you can get a vaccine. You can find a list of places where adults can get a vaccine. Visit FEMA.Gov for detailed information on FEMA’s vaccination support efforts.

The Ad Council partnered with COVID Collaborative’s scientific advisory group and the CDC on a campaign “It’s Up to You” to build public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines. Community based organizations and other trusted messengers are sharing GetVaccineAnswers.org and DeTiDepende.org to help people feel confident and prepared to get vaccinated once a vaccine is available to them. A free public health toolkit is available online.

The CDC Vaccine Task Force and Data Analysis & Visualization Task Force launched the CDC COVID Data Tracker Vaccinations Trends page. This page includes vaccination trends 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,

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Last updated March 3, 2021