Shutterstock.com

Officials Still Fighting for Vaccine Distribution for D.C.-Area Feds Despite Initial Rejection

Lawmakers caution the Biden administration against “foisting” feds onto state vaccination programs.

Appeals to the Biden administration for help vaccinating federal workers in the Washington, D.C., region are so far falling on deaf ears, but leaders continue to press for special dose distributions. 

Officials in the metro area said they remain “optimistic” they can convince the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change their minds. Governors Ralph Northam, D-Va., and Larry Hogan, R-Md., along with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D, have pushed the Biden administration to provide direct vaccine distributions for 30,000 frontline federal workers in their jurisdictions, arguing those personnel are “the direct and sole responsibility” of the federal government. While officials said the conversations are ongoing, FEMA so far has made clear it has no intention of fulfilling the request. 

“We’re optimistic that we can continue to keep the dialogues and discussions going with FEMA and get a different decision on how we will approach federal workers with a supplemental supply of vaccine,” said LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the city's health department.  

Local officials received a boost in their efforts on Thursday, with federal lawmakers in the area writing a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and acting Office of Personnel Management Director Kathleen McGettigan arguing that the federal government should make a direct allocation of vaccine for its own employees. Similar to the governors’ and mayor’s request, Virginia Reps. Don Beyer, Gerald E. Connolly and Jennifer Wexton; Maryland Reps. Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin and David Trone; and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton—all Democrats—said the concentration of federal workers in the region would place an undue burden on local governments’ vaccination efforts. 

“Rather than foisting federal employees into Virginia, D.C., or Maryland’s supply of vaccines and increasing their essential worker vaccination responsibilities, the federal government should vaccinate federal employees through a separate federalized allocation to get them vaccinated as soon as possible,” the lawmakers said. 

Aaron Fritschner, a spokesman for Beyer, said the group has not yet had any communication with CDC or OPM, but is hopeful its influence can “increase the pressure” to get the Biden administration to reverse its stance. 

“This seems like a pretty obvious thing to do, to us,” Fritschner said. 

A FEMA spokesperson who declined to be identified suggested the administration has not yet made a final determination, saying the request from the governors and mayor “is currently under review.” 

“FEMA reviews all requests from states, territories and tribes that are submitted and is working with our partners to provide federal support through deployment of personnel, equipment and supplies, and expedited funding to assist, augment and expedite vaccines to everyone in America,” the spokesperson said, adding that decisions on specific allocations are made at the local level. 

Most agencies have struggled to secure vaccine doses for their workforces, with only five receiving direct distributions for internal use. Management in many cases has communicated to frontline employees that they are eligible for prioritized access, but has done little to assist in actually getting them inoculated. The Homeland Security Department has partnered with the Veterans Affairs Department to get its workforce vaccinated, but the initiative has been slow to get off the ground. VA’s internal effort has been successful, vaccinating 275,000 of its own employees and more than 1 million veterans. 

President Biden in his first days in office created a task force to, among other things, develop policies to prioritize federal employees for vaccinations. To date, that group has not issued any such plan aside from instructing agencies to allow employees to take paid administrative leave in order to receive their inoculations.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.