Health Dept. admits testing fallout with Pima County was factor in initial rejection of FEMA vaccine site

Chuck Huckleberry, Chairman Pima County Board of Supervisors

ADHS reverses decision on federal vaccine site after FEMA letter calls out state’s credibility

By Josh Sanders KPNX 12 News

Last Friday, the Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ announced that the state will now allow Pima County to work independently with FEMA to establish a Community Vaccine Center (CVC), but there are strings attached.  

FEMA ‘concerned’ with Dr. Cara Christ mischaracterization of offer for federally supported COVID-19 vaccination site

The State’s reversal may be a change of heart, but that change came only after FEMA’s Acting Regional Administrator Tammy Littrell expressed in a letter, concern with how Christ characterized conversations between the state and federal officials. 

The Pima County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the invitation for FEMA to set-up a federally run and funded vaccination site that would provide predominately Latino communities with access to the vaccine.  

ADHS initially rejected the offer, stating that “the state does not need assistance in standing up additional fixed or mobile resources”. Dr. Christ also told reporters a CVC would not allow for state oversight and would have to provide significant staffing and resources to operate.  

But according to Littrell’s letter, FEMA would provide an additional 8-week supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, clinical and administrative staff, and 100% federal funding.  

Now, the state has authorized Pima County and FEMA to move forward with the site if it does not reduce existing supply of vaccine to the state or impact state vaccine resources and operations.   

Dr. Christ responded to Littrell’s concern with another letter doubling down on the state’s reasons for initially rejecting the offer.  

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