FEMA commits $245 million to Florida for COVID-19 vaccination costs

Funds can cover costs of equipment for vaccine storage, facilities

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine rest in cold storage at UC Davis Health on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, Pool)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has obligated $245 million to Florida for its COVID-19 vaccine plans.

The award provides expedited federal funding to reimburse 100% of costs related to Florida’s vaccination program for a 90-day period. Line items covered in the award include equipment and supplies needed for storing, handling, and distributing vaccines. Reimbursements can also help with personal protective equipment, cover costs of facilities needed to store and administer vaccines and additional medical and support staff.

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“This funding will help the state distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccinations to more Floridians,” said Gracia Szczech, regional administrator for FEMA Region 4. “We have been working closely with our state partners since the onset of the pandemic, and these dollars will assist with their ongoing efforts.”

This financial obligation comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to call on the federal government to provide more vaccines, saying Florida has the infrastructure to get out shots.

“With more than 300 sites statewide, Florida has the throughput to continue pushing out vaccine supplies for the federal government and put our seniors first,” he said. “If more vaccines are allocated to our state, we have the capacity to double our output.”

According to the governor, Florida has administered about 375,000 doses a week since rolling out its vaccination strategy in late December. To date, more than 2 million people have been vaccinated across the state with most of those shots going to Florida’s 65 and older residents.

This FEMA obligation is funded through the agency’s Public Assistance program, which reimburses communities for actions taken for response and recovery from a disaster.

For COVID-19, FEMA has adjusted the public assistance application and reimbursement process to get funds to applicants faster, according to the agency.