FEMA May Operate up to 100 Federally Run Mass Vaccination Sites

FEMA May Operate up to 100 Federally Run Mass Vaccination Sites

A draft document envisions different models for sites, with the largest capable of handling 6,000 doses a day

The plan, which was announced by President Biden on his first day in office, is already taking shape in the form of a draft “Concept of Operations,” which was obtained by The Washington Post. The document envisions FEMA, which previously had more of a piecemeal role in pandemic response, fully unleashed.

Its mission will be to “provide federal support to existing or new community vaccination centers and mobile clinics across the country.”

Enlisting FEMA, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, is among the clearest signals that Biden intends to involve the federal government more directly in the administration of vaccines, instead of leaving the final step of the massive effort to state and local authorities.

“FEMA … will mobilize thousands of clinical and nonclinical staff and contractors who will work hand-in-glove with the National Guard and state and local teams to assist, augment, and expedite the distribution and administration of coronavirus vaccines,” the FEMA document states.

If requested by states and other jurisdictions, the draft notes, “the U.S. Government would develop, equip, provide information management, and staff and operate the site.”

Shots administered at these sites are expected to draw on the vaccine supply made available to individual states and territories, and some large cities, rather than relying on a new federal allocation stream. A lack of abundant vaccine supply will remain the most pressing problem, probably through March.

The Trump administration, which oversaw the rapid progress in developing a half-dozen vaccine candidates, faced criticism in its closing days for not planning sufficiently for the ground-level hurdles to immunization, from workforce shortages to aging computer systems. Many states have already set up mass vaccination clinics, but officials say assistance will be needed to make sure the greatest number of people possible are vaccinated.

Others took issue with the Biden administration’s efforts, in a sign that greater federal coordination is already becoming politically charged. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a close Trump ally, ridiculed the plan this week, referring to the anticipated centers as “FEMA camps.” Read Full Article >

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