Friday, April 30, 2021
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is sending mobile vaccination units and staff to Pima County to reach vulnerable communities with high risks of COVID-19 exposure and infection.
This follows the decision by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to not sign an agreement that would set up a federal vaccination site, independent of the state, as the state and FEMA failed to agree on the terms, according to an email released by County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, However, DEMA made clear it would support the county’s “Plan B.” At last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Huckelberry announced “Plan B” would include six mobile PODs, but plan has since changed.
According to the announcement Thursday, the operation includes two mobile vaccination units (MVUs), able to administer 250 vaccines per day each, along with administrative staff and federal vaccinators with 70 personnel from FEMA, Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Labor.
The units will run through June 26, operating at two concurrent locations for three days, with one day to tear down and move to the next location. The locations were selected based on census tract data and the Social Vulnerability Index of the area to identify highly vulnerable communities.
“We’re extremely grateful to FEMA for partnering with us on this effort to reach pockets of the community who may not have easy access to this life-saving vaccine,” said Huckelberry. “The ability to offer vaccines during evenings and weekends will enable us to reach folks whose work or school schedules prevent them from getting a vaccine now. With this effort, there’s truly no reason not to roll up your sleeve and get your shot so we can start putting this pandemic behind us.”
From May 3 to May 5, two MVUs will be on-site from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pima Community College Desert Vista (5901 S. Calle Santa Cruz) and Pima Community College West (2202 W. Anklam Road).
According to the release, some sites are still being finalized, but the initial rollout includes:
May 7-9, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
May 11-13, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
May 15-17, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The sites will offer walk-up vaccinations of both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine for those 18 and older on a first-come, first-served basis. Vaccinators will return to the same mobile site 28 days after their first visit to receive their second dose, following CDC guidance. Help will be available to all who need assistance with mobility, language or other accommodations.
“FEMA is proud to support Pima County’s efforts to improve access to and the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said FEMA Region 9 Acting Administrator Tammy Littrell. “MVUs meet people where they are, make the vaccination process quick and easy, and get us one step closer to ending this pandemic.”
The county continues to offer vaccinations at several vaccination centers, mobile pop-up clinics and pharmacies. Visit pima.gov/covid19vaccine for more information.