FEMA denies ‘alarming’ accusations from Arizona’s health director as vaccine rift deepens

 Dr. Cara Christ /Submitted photo

By Stephanie Innes | Arizona Republic

Federal officials are denying accusations from Arizona’s health director that they treated state and county workers so poorly that some of them required crisis counseling.

The allegations arose in a March 26 letter that Arizona Department of Health Services director Dr. Cara Christ wrote to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s acting regional administrator, Tammy Littrell, regarding a FEMA COVID-19 vaccine site in Pima County.


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State leaders had previously rejected an offer from FEMA to stand up one or more COVID-19 sites in Arizona, explaining that what is needed in Arizona is more vaccine supply and not more help with distribution.

But after an outcry from Pima County, which had already identified two locations that they say would be ideal FEMA vaccine sites, the state on March 26 reversed course.

Letter cites ‘significant relationship challenges’ between FEMA and Arizona

Christ’s letter to Littrell authorizes FEMA to work directly with Pima County on operating one or more vaccine sites there. But the letter also finds fault with FEMA, citing “significant relationship challenges” between FEMA and the state of Arizona, as well as other states that have hosted FEMA vaccine sites.


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