FEMA, state Department of Health Services clash over federal vaccine site in Arizona

FEMA offered Arizona a Community Vaccine Center that would be federally supported, but the state health department said it doesn’t need it

By Josh Sanders | KPNX-12 News

The acting regional administrator for FEMA recently expressed concern to the head of the Arizona Department of Health Services over reservations that the director shared with the press earlier this month.

In a letter to ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ, FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Tammy Littrell said she’s “concerned” that conversations the pair had earlier in the week did not include reservations Christ shared with the press on March 19. 

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FEMA said it had offered Arizona a Community Vaccine Center to administer COVID-19 vaccines that would be federally supported and focused on highly populated areas with vulnerable communities. 

In a statement to 12 News, the department said it appreciates the opportunity to work with FEMA, but added “the state does not need assistance in standing up additional fixed or mobile resources. 

“Instead of using federally allocated vaccine at a site that doesn’t currently exist and requiring the state to staff and operate the site, more efficient use of the vaccine would be to administer the doses at one of our currently operating locations,” part of the statement read. 

“As we have worked with our FEMA partners, we have continuously requested additional vaccine to support the unfilled capacity at these sites. At FEMA’s direction, we have put in multiple requests for additional vaccine. Each time our request has been denied.”

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