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  • Supervisors ask Governor Ducey to reconsider FEMA vaccination POD denial

    Mar 24, 2021 | Read More News
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    TCC vaccine FEMAThe Pima County Board of Supervisors March 24 voted unanimously to approve a Resolution asking Gov. Doug Ducey to reconsider denying permission for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up COVID-19 vaccination PODs in Pima County that would fully vaccinate up to 200,000 people.

    Additionally, the Resolution states that if the governor continues to resist allowing FEMA to provide between 220,000 and 300,000 doses of vaccine, the County will ask the Department of Homeland Security to consider directing FEMA to provide the vaccinations anyway.

    FEMA approached Pima County two weeks ago about the prospects of doing a mass vaccination effort in Pima County, providing up to 6,000 doses a day of Pfizer vaccine for three weeks, plus another three weeks for the necessary second shots. FEMA also offered the possibility of another two weeks of one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, up to 80,000 doses.

    The County Health Department and FEMA were ready to begin vaccinations March 31, however, under federal rules, FEMA needs the permission of a state’s governor before conducting operations. FEMA is already in Pima and other state counties providing staffing assistance at vaccination sites. (Photo is of a FEMA staffer at the County/City of Tucson vaccination POD at Tucson Convention Center). 

    Pima County learned of the governor’s denial via statements made by Dr. Cara Christ, the state’s health director, at a press conference March 19.

    If the FEMA-supported vaccination PODs are allowed, the County and FEMA will provide the vaccinations at the Kino Sports Complex Event Center, 2805 E. Ajo Way, and at the city of Tucson El Pueblo Center, 101 W. Irvington Road.

    The focus of the vaccinations will be specific census tracts and zip codes with low vaccination rates. Many of those areas have mostly Hispanic and African American residents. The FEMA PODs would greatly improve the equity of vaccine provision in the County. If demand for vaccinations from the targeted communities wanes, the Health Department would open the PODs to vaccinate anyone in the County age 16 and older.