PHILADELPHIA - More than 1 million vaccine doses have been administered at federally run and federally supported sites across the states in FEMA Region 3, moving the nation another step closer to fully reopening and saving lives in the process.
“Once again, FEMA Region 3 employees have shown that their hearts are as big as their ideas,” said Janice Barlow, Acting Regional Administrator for FEMA Region 3. “We celebrate this milestone with our federal, state, local and community partners, as well as the volunteers who have supported these sites with us, and with entire nation as we begin to move forward.”
As of May 11, nearly 1.1 million vaccine doses have been administered at federally supported and federally run vaccination sites across Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, more than 315,000 vaccine doses have been administered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Esperanza Community Vaccination Center. These sites have been buoyed by sustained neighborhood outreach and community engagement, including door-to-door outreach to businesses in Philadelphia’s most under-vaccinated communities. FEMA Region 3 staff, including those that are residents of Philadelphia, have held town halls and outreach events with neighborhood groups, community-based organizations, and faith-based organizations throughout the city. Outreach also included media interviews and stories on TV, radio, and in print. Specific events, such as a recent Deaf Community Vaccination Day, have been particularly successful reaching vulnerable communities in one of America’s hardest hit cities.
In Maryland, the federally supported operations at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and Six Flags America in Woodmore administered nearly 460,000 doses. The Regency Furniture Stadium operation in Waldorf administered more than 100,000 doses. At the Greenbelt Metro Station, a site accessible via public transportation and serving Prince George’s County residents, administered another 100,000 vaccine doses.
With FEMA’s Mobile Vaccination Unit (MVU) program and accompanying community outreach efforts, vaccines were taken to some of the most remote Maryland communities on both the Eastern Shore and in western Maryland. These 30-foot trailers are capable of vaccinating up to 250 people a day, with the attached community outreach teams able to get even further into the community and deliver 100 vaccines a day.
In the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, in Norfolk, more than 70,000 doses have been administered at the Military Circle Mall. Using a “hub and spoke” model for distribution, 13 sister sites have been set up around the area to vaccinate socially vulnerable groups at schools, churches, and community centers, using the central supply located in Norfolk. In coordination with our partners, equity outreach teams went door to door to share information, community and state leaders came together for an equity roundtable, and our team worked daily with both public and private partners to get the word out on vaccine distribution, equity, and safety.
At Dover International Speedway in Delaware, a drive-through clinic vaccinated seniors, essential workers, and teachers. Nearly 75,000 residents took advantage of the ease of access a drive-through site afforded state residents. Through collaboration, training, and technical assistance, Delaware was able to operate the site at Dover International Speedway long after FEMA Region 3 left.
FEMA Corps teams and FEMA Region 3 employees assisted vaccination efforts in another way in both West Virginia and the District of Columbia. In Washington D.C., FEMA Corps teams participated in door-knocking outreach and missions to target the city’s most vulnerable and underserved populations to get the word out on vaccine eligibility. In West Virginia, teams of volunteers and FEMA Region 3 employees provide support and technical assistance, proving that aid comes in many different forms.
In all, nearly $2 billion dollars of Public Assistance has been awarded to FEMA Region 3 states, which has funded nearly 940 different projects, helping state and local governments, non-profits, tribal nations, and citizens along the way.
The toll of this pandemic is not lost upon employees of FEMA Region 3. The time away from families, the missed birthdays and holidays, and images of the emotional strain COVID-19 has taken on the nation will forever be burned into our collective psyche.
Yet, the promise of a new tomorrow, a return to the things we love, and even the camaraderie and friendships we have built on the COVID-19 battlefield are the motivation for us to keep going and persevere through the next phase of our response and our eventual personal, structural, and societal recovery.
While we cannot quantify the tears of joy, the memories of those who we have lost, the level of anxiety we have all felt, and the yearning for a return to the way some things were, what can be quantified is this: 1 million shots in arms means that hundreds of thousands of people living in the mid-Atlantic have taken a step toward winning their personal war against COVID-19.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.