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States Respond to COVID-19: FEMA Assistance, Vaccines for Children

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is supporting statewide and U.S. territory vaccination sites by supplying money, equipment, supplies, and personnel.

After states or territories submit a request for assistance, FEMA expedites reimbursement for eligible emergency work projects to ensure resources are available to support vaccine distribution and administration. The award provides expedited federal funding to reimburse all costs related to the entity’s vaccination program for a 90-day period. These costs can include:

  • equipment and supplies needed for storing, handling, and distributing vaccines;
  • personal protective equipment for staff and patients;
  • leasing facilities for storing and administering vaccines;
  • additional medical and support staff, including facility infection control measures;
  • emergency medical care;
  • equipment for the safe disposal of medical waste; and
  • communications to disseminate public information.

As of Feb. 1, FEMA is providing financial assistance for vaccine costs to Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

State Vaccination Plans for Children Vary

States differ widely in their plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to children. Among various approaches, many states are considering whether to prioritize subpopulations of children, involve child health stakeholders the planning, and designating roles for providers.

Several states are prioritizing subpopulations of children, including:

  • including children as a priority population in phase 3 of vaccine dissemination (in Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island);
  • prioritizing children in congregate settings, as they are at a higher risk of transmission of the virus (in Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania); and
  • prioritizing children at a high risk of COVID-19 (in Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, New York, and Oklahoma). 

At least 31 states are involving child health stakeholders in planning for vaccine distribution. In Ohio, for example, the distribution planning includes representatives from Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, Ohio Department of Education, and select local school districts.

Other states are designating provider roles to vaccinate children. For example:

  • Connecticut has specifically designated providers and locations that will serve children; and
  • North Carolina plans to partner with school districts to identify children to vaccinate once it is authorized.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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