On Feb. 2, President Joseph R. 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, if not funded by HHS/CDC or other federal agency.
To date, FEMA has provided more than $1.76 billion to states, territories and tribes and Washington, D.C., for expenses related to COVID-19 vaccination at 100% federal cost share and deployed 401 staff to 12 states and one territory to support vaccination centers with personnel and technical assistance. Additional staff are supporting virtually. 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 Americans vaccinated.
As of Feb. 2, 114 federally supported sites are operational across the country.
Additionally, FEMA established a Civil Rights Advisory Group. Civil rights advisors are deployed to all regions assisting with equity in vaccine operations, including community engagement, community assessments, equal access/accessibility and site inspections.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services deployed 96 National Disaster Medical System medical vaccinators for community vaccination centers in Arizona. The U. S. Coast Guard deployed 18 reservists to support Oklahoma.
Federal Coordination to Identify and Fill Resource Gaps
FEMA is working closely with state, local, tribal and territorial governments to fill gaps that local health officials have identified. Additionally, emergency managers are working closely with appropriate health officials.
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 work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies to ensure a coordinated approach to using Defense Production Act authorities wherever necessary so private sector companies can increase vaccine supply and spur vaccine manufacturing.
FEMA is working with the Ad Council to encourage hesitant or underrepresented Americans 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 vaccine is not a perfect fix. Everyone should continue to practice other precautions like wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, handwashing and other hygiene measures until public health officials say otherwise.
FEMA is committed to ensuring every American who wants a vaccine can get one.