WASHINGTON (WTEN) — Following Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s call with Jeffrey Zients, President Biden’s pick to be the White House coronavirus coordinator, Senator Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced $466,800,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for New York’s vaccine distribution and administration.
According to the senators, these federal funds are important for the safe and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Specifically, this funding covers the costs of supplies required for storing, handling, distributing, transporting, and administering COVID-19 vaccines. This includes emergency medical care, containers for medical waste, and supplies necessary for proper storage of the vaccines including liquid nitrogen, dry ice and portable storage units.
Additionally, the funding supports vaccine transportation such as refrigerated trucks and transport security, medical and support staff, onsite infection control measures, PPE for staff and face masks for patients, temperature scanners, physical barriers and disinfection services for vaccine distribution facilities. Finally, the funding will be used for facility costs, including leasing space for storage and administration of vaccines.
“In order to get these wonderful vaccines injected into the arms of millions of New Yorkers, we must also inject hundreds of millions of dollars into New York State and New York City’s budgets – so they can get this job done ASAP to keep people safe and to reenergize our economy,” said Senator Schumer. “This infusion of almost half-a-billion in federal funds supports the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines to distribution sites across the state and will ensure that distribution sites are safe and equipped with the proper medical supplies, medical staff, cleaning services, and more.”
“While we celebrate the authorization of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines that put us one step closer to eradicating the virus, we have to face reality – federal aid is critical to helping New York State ensure vaccinations are distributed efficiently and equitably to those who need it the most,” said Senator Gillibrand.
Senator Schumer has also communicated to Zients that New York needs three things: predictability, communication, and vaccines, in order to have an effective and efficient vaccine distribution system.