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HHS to Open Mass Vaccination Site for Federal Critical Infrastructure Workers

The site will be in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Eligibility will be based on job duties.

Next week, the Health and Human Services Department plans to open a vaccination site for federal employees in the National Capital Region.

A source familiar with the plans told Government Executive on Friday that the site will be in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “The site will provide COVID vaccinations to federal, essential, critical infrastructure workers,” said the source. Federal agencies will determine eligibility based on “job duties and [the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s] guidance on the essential, critical infrastructure workforce,” which includes 24 agencies.  

The source was unsure at the moment on how many vaccine doses will be available or how many employees will be able to receive them. Employees will be notified starting Friday, April 2, the source said.

Since the first vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last December, a handful of agencies have received direct allocations for their workforces and some agencies are vaccinating contractors as well. For the upcoming vaccination site, agencies will decide if contractors are eligible, the source said. 

The vaccine rollout in Washington, D.C., has been slower than in other areas. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said the District of Columbia would not get a mass vaccination site, despite its “high social vulnerability” status (calculated based on race and poverty levels) due to its population size, The Washington Post reported last week. Previously, “FEMA has also rejected requests from the District and the governors of Maryland and Virginia to help vaccinate the massive essential federal workforce in the National Capital Region, including transit workers and postal workers,” the report noted.

Last week during a briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if the administration was considering expanding access to vaccines for federal employees. She’d said she’d have to check with the COVID response team. “Obviously, everyone will be eligible in just over a month, including our government employees.”