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FEMA’s Role in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

When FEMA is involved, state and local emergency management becomes involved.

(Tuesday, Feb. 2)

Check out what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is saying about its mission in supporting the vaccination of the American people: "FEMA Supports Vaccine Distribution: COVID-19 Response Update."

When FEMA is involved, they will have of necessity, state and local emergency management agencies involved, too. 

My sense is that many local agencies would like to get back to "program management," managing the grants and things like planning and training for natural disasters or whatever was on their plate before the coronavirus took over their lives. I can understand that urge, but this is war folks! All out total war against the virus! World War II had 671,278 Americans in uniform killed during the four years of the war. 

We have had 443,000 dead in less than a year. We will likely surpass the WWII numbers before this year is out, given we get to 500,000 as predicted by the CDC for March of this year. 

Everyone needs to realign their priorities. If you have grant funds that can't be expended due to your work on COVID-19 response, so be it. Turn the money back. Save lives, coordinate, help out public health in their mission and the mission of other civilian medical professionals. Now is not the time to be working on your Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) certification. Serve, serve, do, do — what we are here to do in the first place!

Now is your time to step up and be counted. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.