The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has posted a document, COVID-19 Pandemic: Vaccination Planning FAQ, which discusses how fire and EMS departments can be reimbursed in public vaccination campaigns. The reimbursement would take place through FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program.
The document discusses the sources of federal funding for COVID-19 vaccine programs. Eligible work and costs necessary for the distribution and administration of COVID-19 can be reimbursed through the PA program. These costs cannot be covered by another source of federal funding, such as the costs of the vaccines themselves.
Examples of eligible costs may include:
- Personal Protective Equipment and other equipment and supplies, including onsite infection control measures necessary for the storage, handling, distribution, transportation, and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Facility support costs, such as the leasing of space for storage or administration of the vaccines, utilities, maintenance, and security.
- Additional staff, including medical and support staff not paid for by other funding sources.
- Emergency medical care associated with vaccine administration.
- Medical waste disposal.
- Communications to disseminate public information regarding vaccinations.
The IAFC recommends that fire chiefs review these FAQs (As FEMA policies change, this document will be updated). We also recommend that fire chiefs consult with their local and state emergency managers and local public health officials to ensure that all FEMA policies and procedures are met when seeking reimbursement. As fire departments are becoming more involved in local COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, FEMA’s PA program may offer an opportunity to recoup the fire and EMS departments’ costs.
Ken LaSala is the IAFC s Director of Government Relations & Policy