State rejects FEMA’s offer to bring 240K+ doses to Pima County

Pima County leaders are working to still get the vaccines by end of March
Pima County vaccination site
Posted at 8:52 AM, Mar 21, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The state has rejected FEMA’s offer to bring at least 240,000 vaccine doses to Pima County.

“We’re a little lost at trying to understand what’s going on,” said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry

Huckelberry said the state facilitated a meeting between FEMA and Pima County.

The feds worked with health leaders pinpointing two permanent federal run sites in high-risk minority areas.

But Huckelberry told KGUN9 Friday afternoon he had been hearing the state may pass on FEMA's offer.

An hour later, KGUN9 got an answer from Health Director Dr. Cara Christ.

Dr. Christ said, “At this time the state has declined getting a FEMA federal operated site in the state.”

That final decision stunned Huckelberry and Board Supervisor Dr. Matt Heinz.

“If it's extra vaccines, we need to do whatever we can to get them here and to do anything other than that, that's the state not acting in good faith here and I don't know why,” said Dr. Heinz.

Dr. Christ explained why the state declined FEMA'S offer. “They still needed us to be able to staff it to provide the resources for it only we did not have the medical oversight or the managerial oversight of these sites,” she said.

“We don't really need their resources,” Huckelberry said, “We have all the resources available here. We set up our own pods and our own vaccination centers so we're perfectly willing to take that entire burden on ourselves.”

Heinz has reached out to the Office of the White House asking if the county can make a direct request to FEMA without involving the state.