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FEMA 'concerned' about Dr. Christ comments after Arizona declines federal vaccine help, letter shows

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Posted at 12:43 PM, Mar 24, 2021

PHOENIX — Federal officials say they are concerned about communication with our state after vaccine site assistance was denied.

In a letter to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ dated March 20, FEMA outlined concerns about comments made to the media after Arizona declined the offer for federal help with vaccination sites.

Read the letter here.

Dr. Christ reportedly denied federal assistance for community vaccine sites on March 18, according to the letter. Federal officials say they were “concerned” after hearing what Dr. Christ said about not accepting their help without communicating with them beforehand.

The letter says her concerns and comments to the media about accepting help included worries about longer wait times for Arizonans getting vaccines, no state oversight of the sites, and other vaccine supply questions.

However, FEMA said they would not expect any additional delays, would create a partnership to “leverage the state’s strengths,” and would offer an additional supply of the vaccine without drawing from what the state already receives.

RELATED: Arizona Governor Doug Ducey says no beef over rejected FEMA vaccine site

FEMA says they are open to answering any additional concerns and questions Arizona may have about a potential partnership and are hoping to communicate effectively.

Dr. Christ addressed the FEMA partnership in a March 19 press conference online.

At a Wednesday event in Tucson, Gov. Doug Ducey said there was no turf war after Arizona rejected a proposed federal government-supported COVID-19 vaccine site.

The Republican governor says working with FEMA on setting up a community vaccine center in Pima County would not be as efficient as simply allocating more doses to the state.

The decision has drawn some criticism from Pima County, where officials voted unanimously for the federal site.