First-in-the-Nation FEMA Mobile Vaccination Unit to End COVID-19 Vaccines in Connecticut

Government and Politics

July 13, 2021

Region 1 – After vaccinating thousands, the State of Connecticut and FEMA has concluded their innovative Mobile Vaccination Unit joint program on July 11th in New Haven.

Launched on March 29 at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, the FEMA Mobile Vaccination Unit was the first one in the country the federal government rolled out.

Since then, the successful program built around the mobile unit was extended by the state-federal partnership from its original 60-day schedule in the field.

The unit was designed to reach those who had limited access to healthcare facilities or pharmacies that provided the coronavirus vaccine and wanted one. The unit made the process as simple and as convenient as possible.

As of July 9th, the unit administered 12,533 COVID-19 vaccines to Connecticut’s most underserved communities impacted by the pandemic.

The finish of the unit’s route—and the statewide program itself—will end in in New Haven in partnership with Yale New Haven Health personnel. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be offered. All individuals aged 12 and over are eligible for the free vaccine. No appointments are required, and walk-ins are welcome.

In addition to socially vulnerable communities in Bridgeport and New Haven, others served by this unit included those in Danbury, East Hartford, Hartford, Meriden, Middletown, Norwalk, Norwich, Stamford, and Waterbury. At sites, clinical staff from healthcare partners offered the vaccine. They were supported by non-clinical staff from the Connecticut National Guard and local communities.

Sites were chosen based on the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control’s Social Vulnerability Index, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Community Resilience Estimates, low vaccine coverage, metrics and other barriers to vaccine access.

The program complemented ongoing efforts of local public health departments, healthcare providers, pharmacies, community and faith-based organizations, employers, private-sector vaccinators, and other federal resources.

The State of Connecticut requested FEMA’s support with its vaccination efforts after the Biden-Harris Administration committed federal resources to assist states, commonwealths, Tribes, localities, territories and the District of Columbia in “getting shots into as many arms as possible.” Connecticut, localities throughout the state and FEMA pursued Mobile Vaccination Units in their multipronged strategies to provide the coronavirus vaccine to anyone who wanted one.

“Connecticut is one of the leaders in the nation in terms of our vaccination rates. And while we still have work to do in getting all our residents vaccinated, we could not have gotten to where we are today without the success of projects like the FEMA Mobile Unit,” said Acting Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford, MD, MPH.

Acting Region 1 Administrator and Federal Coordinating Officer Paul Ford, who oversees FEMA’s operations throughout New England, added, “This is a great example of a highly successful collaboration between a wide range of partners, and we are grateful to all.” V

A second Mobile Vaccination Unit from FEMA also began administering vaccines in Connecticut on May 7 and completed its mission in mid-June after administering 4,057 vaccines.

If you have any questions, please contact FEMA Region 1 Congressional Liaison, Diego Alvarado at (202)384-5312 or Diego.Alvarado@fema.dhs.gov.