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VERIFY: DC doesn't have a FEMA vaccination site, did it cost the city doses?

The city hasn't partnered with FEMA for vaccine sites. It's led people to speculate that the city is losing out on additional doses of vaccines.

WASHINGTON — Did D.C. miss out on COVID-19 vaccines because it does not have a FEMA mass vaccination site?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the District ranks near the bottom of states and territories for the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated.

At the end of last month, a bit of controversy and confusion ensued as D.C. councilmembers were told the city did not plan on partnering with FEMA for a mass vaccination site.

Online people have speculated part of the city’s vaccine problems are because the city has not partnered with The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to distribute the vaccines.

Question:

Did D.C. lose out on extra COVID-19 vaccine doses because it doesn’t have a mass vaccination site?

Answer:

No, FEMA does not decide how many vaccine doses jurisdictions receive.

Our Sources:

FEMA and  Elizabeth Zimmerman, a FEMA expert from the disaster management company: IEM.

What We Found:

When FEMA sets up a mass vaccination site, whether it be a state or district, the agency offers logistics, according to Zimmerman.

“You can get money, you can get supplies, you can get the commodities,” Zimmerman explained. “It all depends on what the requirements are and how the entity decides to set that up.”

But the one thing FEMA does not have the authorization to do is decide where portions of vaccines go.

“The vaccines come from the CDC based on population and based on throughput,” she explained. “FEMA is not bringing vaccines with them. FEMA is bringing resources based on what is needed.

So, no, the city has not lost out on vaccines because it does not have a FEMA mass vaccination site.

However, the city does continue to rank near the bottom of states for vaccine doses given out, according to the CDC. Alaska has a comparable population but has vaccinated 25% of its population fully. D.C. has vaccinated 16% of its population.

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