State’s vaccine efforts get $32M federal boost

Since the COVID fatality rate is higher in the elderly, health officials in southern Indiana...
Since the COVID fatality rate is higher in the elderly, health officials in southern Indiana told WAVE 3 healthcare workers are doing what they can with what they’ve got.(Kristine Wook | Unsplash)
Updated: Jan. 29, 2021 at 4:27 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Lawmakers are applauding a decision to award the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) a $32 million federal grant to support vaccination efforts.

“This additional funding for vaccine distribution is great news for the state,” said Sen. Roger Wicker. “I am grateful for FEMA’s continued support as our state works to recover from this pandemic and restore more aspects of normal life.”

On Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, announced that it would be providing the grant.

The funds will be used to help MEMA administer the vaccine at public facilities across the state and will help pay for the purchase of personal protective equipment and additional equipment for storing, handling, distributing, and transporting the vaccines, according to a release from Congress.

“The heavy burden of the pandemic has been a strain on our resources, economy, healthcare system, and personal lives, but the new vaccines offer a strong response in our fight against COVID-19. With renewed funding for the distribution of these vaccines, we will continue our successful push to restore our nation to normalcy. I am grateful for FEMA’s investment in our state for this important work,” Rep. Michael Guest said.

MEMA also can use the funding for infection control measures at facilities administering vaccinations and for vaccine-related public information distribution.

“It is critical that Mississippians have the resources necessary to prevail in our fight against COVID-19, and this funding will prove to be a tremendous asset in our distribution efforts. Getting Mississippians vaccinated as quickly as we can is a key component of restoring our economy and way of life,” Rep. Steven Palazzo said.

The news comes as the state continues to ramp up vaccination efforts. Friday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs announced that more than 225,000 people in the state have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.

MEMA applied for $64 million for vaccination efforts from the federal agency through April 25, 2021.

This grant award, which does not require state matching funds, represents half of a total project cost with the remainder to be awarded later.

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