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FEMA COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Update

Thursday, March 04, 2021

In alignment with President Biden’s plan to respond to COVID-19, FEMA will work 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.
Key Messages

    As of March 1, FEMA has provided more than $4.02 billion to 38 states, Washington D.C., four 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.
    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.
    Since Jan. 20, the federal government has provided critical support in the form of personnel, supplies and/or funding to help establish or expand more than 450 community vaccination centers nationwide. Additionally, there are 55 mobile vaccination centers serving communities across the nation.
    FEMA is working with state governments to open additional federal Community Vaccination Center pilot sites today:
        Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa, Florida.
        Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Yonkers, New York.
        A site opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania yesterday.
    To support the deaf community, FEMA has made live on-demand American Sign Language interpreters available at any federally supported Community Vaccination Center. The service is available every day of the week during CVC operational hours. This service is not available at retail pharmacies, hospitals, medical clinics or doctor’s offices.
    FEMA is working to speed up vaccinations by supporting states as they open community vaccine centers across the country. Vaccine allocations to states, tribes and territories continue to increase. This week, 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.
    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 and 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.
    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 $46.6 million dollars to survivors. Since the Feb. 24 Oklahoma declaration, we’ve awarded over $192,000 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

    As of March 1, FEMA has deployed 1,992 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. Two surge members are in Dover, Delaware and 43 are in New Jersey supporting vaccination efforts. Forty additional surge members are en route to Illinois.
        As of March 2, a total of 108 SCF members are deployed to support vaccination efforts, with 14 surge members in Delaware, 40 in Illinois, seven in Maryland and 47 in New Jersey.
    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.
    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 site locations and providing contracting capability to establish new sites.
    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

    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 has civil rights advisors and disability integration specialists in each of FEMAs 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 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 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.
    HRSA will regularly update the list of health centers participating in the program and additional health centers invited to participate. 

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.
    FEMA is working with state governments to open additional federal Community Vaccination Center pilot sites next week:
        One in Chicago, Illinois and one in Greensboro, North Carolina.
    Last month, federal Community Vaccination Center pilot sites opened in California, New York, and Texas. A federal Community Vaccination Center pilot site opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania yesterday.
    The sites that the federal government are supporting 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.

Additional Vaccination Programs

    FEMA is committed to providing any and all available resources to support our state, local, tribal and territorial partners in the ongoing effort to provide a vaccine to everyone who wants one. As the federal government works to increase the supply of vaccine to jurisdictions, 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, federal pilot sites, sites already established by states, tribes and territories, additional 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

    According to CDC, as of March 2, more than 78.6 million vaccine doses have been administered. More than 102.4 million vaccine doses have been distributed to locations across the country.
    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 and 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.
    On Feb. 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a third COVID-19 vaccine. In deciding whether to issue an EUA for a product, the FDA evaluates the available evidence to determine whether the product may be effective. FDA also assesses any known or potential risks and any known or potential benefits. If the product meets the effectiveness standard and the benefit-risk assessment is favorable, the product is made available during the emergency.
        The EUA also requires that fact sheets that provide important information, including dosing instructions and information about the benefits and risks of any COVID-19 vaccine be made available to vaccination providers and recipients.
    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 US 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 CDC also has online tips for building vaccine confidence.

Additional FEMA Support

    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.
    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 March 2, the Disaster Relief Fund balance is more than $12 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.

Contact Us
If you have any questions, please contact Office of External Affairs:

    Congressional Affairs at (202) 646-4500 or at
    Intergovernmental Affairs at (202) 646-3444 or at
    Tribal Affairs at (202) 646-3444 or at
    Private Sector Engagement at (202) 646-3444 or at

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Also, follow Acting Administrator Bob Fenton on Twitter @FEMA_Fenton.
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