State silent on FEMA vaccination site for Pima County

Pressure mounts to approve it

FEMA fight update

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County is waiting on a decision by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to approve a federal vaccination site which will vaccinate 210,000 residents in six to eight weeks.

The county and FEMA had worked out a deal to provide 6,000 doses a day for eight weeks for two sites on Tucson’s south-side, areas which have been underserved.

After Gov. Ducey rejected the offer, the county board in a rare unanimous vote, passed a resolution asking the governor to reconsider.

Ducey said he would but has given no indication whether he will change his mind.

That has residents and the people who represent those residents concerned, but resigned.

“I finally felt we’re going to get the services that our community desperately needs and to be told, you know, the governor said no” said Adelita Grijalva, who represents District 5, which would have received much of the vaccine. “It’s heartbreaking for so many people who desperately need the help.”

District 5 is majority Hispanic, many of whom are essential workers who can’t work from home and also can’t take time off of work. Getting vaccinated is nearly impossible for many.

“If there was an offer to put in a FEMA POD (point of distribution) in an area like Green Valley or some other affluent area, would those services be denied,” she said. “I don’t think they would have been.”

The south-side’s District 2 is also heavily impacted. It’s represented by Dr. Matt Heinz who says he’s confident the county and FEMA will find a way to work around the governor.

“I’m really confident we’re going to find a way to bring those vaccines to Pima County,” he said. “I just can’t tell you how it’s going to work at this moment.”

FEMA says it doesn’t contract with counties but would be willing to bring the doses to Pima County, if the state gives the go ahead.

“Maybe I’m just naive but this is not standard everyday politics as usual,” Heinz said. “This is people lives, this is life or death.”

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