Carlton Chase, licensed vocational nurse, prepares to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to Wanda Elaine Brown, medical clerk, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Jan. 26, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards)

FEMA Supports Vaccine Distribution with More Than $1.2 Billion to Governmental Partners

FEMA has now obligated more than $1.2 billion to governmental partners with vaccination sites, as the agency continues its increased support in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.

That number is expected to grow in the days ahead as we work with other federal agencies to provide federal support for critical staffing, supplies and other shortfalls which will  help get more Americans vaccinated.

Federal Funding to Accelerate State Vaccine Efforts

FEMA, in accordance with President Joseph R. Biden’s Jan. 21 memorandum, will provide reimbursement to state, local, tribal and territorial governments and the District of Columbia for use of their National Guard to respond to COVID-19 and other assistance, which may include support for vaccination distribution and administration, at a 100% cost share until Sept. 30, 2021.

The agency is expediting reimbursement for eligible emergency work projects to ensure resources are available to support vaccine distribution and administration. Funding covers emergency protective measures, such as:

Supplies and commodities needed to safely store and administer the vaccine.

Transportation support and reasonable, necessary security for refrigerated trucks and support for leasing space to store and/or administer vaccines, including utilities, maintenance and security.

Medical and support staff, including onsite infection control measures, personal protective equipment for staff, cloth face coverings for patients, temperature scanners, physical barriers and disinfection of the facility in accordance with CDC guidance.

Dissemination of public information and communication regarding vaccinations.

As of Jan. 26, FEMA obligated more than $1.2 billion to states, territories and tribes for expenses related to COVID-19 vaccination at 100% federal cost share:

  • $219.5 million to Maryland.
  • $216 million to New Jersey.
  • $466.8 million to New York.
  • $1.6 million to Pennsylvania.
  • $76.6 million to Puerto Rico.
  • $2.5 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • $2.2 million to Virginia.
  • $2.3 million to Washington, D.C.
  • $1 million to West Virginia.

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 appropriates $2 billion to FEMA to provide financial assistance to individuals and households for COVID-19-related funeral expenses at a 100% federal cost. The appropriation covers eligible funeral expenses incurred through Dec. 31, 2020. FEMA is reviewing the legislation and evaluating potential options for implementation.

Federal Coordination to Identify and Fill Resource Gaps

FEMA released “FEMA COVID-19 Vaccination Planning FAQ,” a document to help assist governments with their vaccine distribution efforts and reimbursements for associated costs. The agency 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 Supporting and Establishing Vaccine Sites

FEMA will provide support to established vaccination locations, establish new community vaccination centers and support National Guard operations to expand access to vaccines. To reach underserved and rural communities, FEMA, in collaboration with federal partners, will coordinate efforts to establish and support fixed facilities and establishing pop-up or temporary vaccination sites and mobile vaccination clinics. FEMA has already deployed staff to Arizona and Nevada to support state vaccination centers with personnel and technical assistance. Additional staff across the country are supporting virtually.

Vaccine Guidance

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.

Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is limited, CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. CDC’s recommendations are based on those of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent panel of medical and health experts. Each state has its own plan for deciding which groups of people will be vaccinated first. Contact your state health department for more information on its plan for COVID-19 vaccination.

As of Jan. 25, CDC has administered more than 22.7 million vaccine doses. More than 41.4 million vaccine doses have been distributed to locations across the country. 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.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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