Reps. Grijalva, Kirkpatrick, Gallego, O’Halleran & Stanton Urge Governor Ducey to Reconsider Decision to Turn Down FEMA Vaccination Site
TUCSON— This morning, Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Ruben Gallego, Tom O’Halleran, and Greg Stanton sent a letter to Arizona Governor Ducey urging him to reconsider his decision to turn down Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) offer to set up and run a vaccine point of distribution (POD) in Pima County, which would potentially vaccinate more than 200,000 Southern Arizonans.
After meeting with FEMA to gain clarification on the offer and subsequent decision by the state, the Representatives learned that the site would provide over 300,000 more doses in Pima County, without strings attached, and yet the state turned down this opportunity. On Wednesday, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a resolution asking Governor Ducey to reconsider his decision.
“While everyday Arizonans are clamoring for their chance to get a vaccine as soon as possible, the decision by the State to reject FEMA support for vaccination sites is nothing short of baffling,” said Rep. Grijalva. “When the Governor’s office urged Arizona’s congressional delegation to prioritize vaccine distribution, I took that responsibility seriously. However, it appears the State did not. We should always put the needs of Arizonans above politics, and I urge the State to immediately reverse this neglectful decision.”
“It is preposterous and discouraging that the State would make this decision,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “The goal is to vaccinate as many Arizonans as possible as quickly as possible, and no opportunity to get that done should be declined. My Arizona colleagues and I are joining together to pressure Governor Ducey to reverse this irresponsible decision.”
“It is unconscionable that Governor Ducey would turn down the vaccines and infrastructure from FEMA needed to vaccinate an additional 200,000 Arizonans over the next eight weeks – that’s more people than live in most cities in Arizona,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego. “Many constituents in my District live in hard-to-reach areas that could benefit from partnerships with FEMA to make sure every person has access to a vaccine, regardless of whether they have a car, access to the internet, English proficiency, or financial means. I have urged the governor to pursue partnerships like this for weeks and I now urge him to reverse his nonsensical decision and accept the help that’s been offered.”
"Throughout the course of this pandemic, Arizona has several times experienced the highest rates of COVID-19 infections per capita in the world,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “While we are finally turning the corner and trending in the right direction on vaccines administered, now is not the time to pump the brakes. I am extremely disappointed to see Governor Ducey reject a FEMA offer to work collaboratively with the State to increase vaccination capacity and help Arizona more rapidly move toward normalcy. I urge the Governor to reverse this harmful decision."
"Our goal should be to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible – period,” said Rep. Stanton. This is the latest in a long line of poor decisions by state leaders, and Arizonans are paying the price every day."
“As Members of Congress, we have been working tirelessly to direct federal resources to Arizona and turning down this major federal assistance to Pima County is unjustifiable,” wrote the Representatives in their letter. “Recovering from this pandemic and getting shots in the arms of all Arizonans should be a top priority for us all, and we should welcome any resources offered to our state to achieve these goals.”
To read the full letter, click here.