FEMA to give out 1,000 vaccines daily in Yakima County

Pilot Community Vaccination Center opens March 31

YAKIMA, Wash. —The Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing thousands of COVID-19 vaccines and about 100 U.S. Army personnel to help increase the number of doses administered at the mass vaccination site at State Fair Park in Yakima.

“This is the first joint effort like this in the Pacific Northwest to provide supplemental vaccines and federal resources,” said Vincent Maykovich, Acting Regional Administrator for FEMA Region 10.

Yakima County opened the drive-thru mass vaccination site earlier this month in hopes of providing easier access to vaccination. While federal, state and local partners will continue to help with the site, FEMA will start helping with operations at the “Pilot Community Vaccination Center” starting March 31.

“This site was selected by FEMA to expand upon their hard work and to provide vaccines to Yakima’s rural and agricultural communities,” Maykovich said.

RELATED: FEMA to help with Yakima mass vaccination site

With federal help, the site will go from administering about 200 doses per day to being able to administer up to 1,200 doses daily, including those doses distributed at mobile vaccination clinics targeting underserved populations.

“Yakima County has been hit hard over this last year due to this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nathan Johnson, Local Emergency Response Coordinator at the Yakima Health District. “We have seen disproportionately high infection rates and hospitalization rates in our county compared to areas across the state.”

Johnson said the mobile vaccination clinics will be held in communities that need better access to vaccines, including Selah, Naches, Wapato, Toppenish, Zillah, Sunnyside, Mabton and Grandview.

Additionally, Johnson said some clinics will be held at work sites and warehouses where agricultural workers are in need of vaccination and with the permission of employers.

“We will not come on site and just set up shop,” Johnson said. “It’s really in partnership with all employers so we’ll be looking at our ag community and also our homebound community.”

The state and the Yakima Health District applied for the federally funded program to help rural, underserved community members with a high risk of COVID-19 infection.

RELATED: Yakima drive-thru mass vaccination site opens

The six-week long pilot program will start March 31 and is a joint effort between FEMA, the Washington State Department of Health, Washington State Emergency Management Division, Yakima Health District and Yakima Valley Emergency Management.

The Pilot Community Vaccination Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday and Friday through Sunday, and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday.

“The Pilot CVC will initially administer the Pfizer vaccine and may expand to include other vaccine options in the future,” Maykovich said.

The additional vaccine doses are being provided directly by the federal government and will not be count against the state or county’s regular allotments.

Anyone wanting a vaccination can check their phase eligibility using Phase Finder, then register for an appointment on PrepMod or call 1-800-525-0127.

Yakima County officials are hopeful that the federal help will make a difference in getting vaccines out to the community members who need them the most.

“This past year has been a unique challenge for everyone,” Yakima County Commissioner Ron Anderson said. “While we still have challenges to overcome, the Community Vaccination Center is a major step in the right direction in improving the health of our community.”

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*This article has been updated to clarify that FEMA is providing support to the vaccination site, but local authorities remain in charge of operations.