After denying a request from DC officials, the federal government will help vulnerable populations in the Washington area fight the covid pandemic by opening a FEMA-run vaccination site in Prince George’s County, Md.
The site, which is set to open by Sunday, will be located in the parking lot of the Greenbelt Metro Station, according to Colin Byrd, the mayor of Greenbelt, Md., who made the announcement Monday in a Facebook post. It will be the first federally-operated vaccination site in the state of Maryland, Byrd said.
The FEMA clinics, which are designed to bolster covid vaccination efforts in areas with high poverty, have been the source of criticism from local officials. According to The Washington Post, DC officials made a request to have a FEMA vaccination sites opened in the city. But although FEMA agreed that DC’s population possessed a “high social vulnerability,” the agency ultimately denied the request on account of the city’s size, according to The Post. In determining where to locate the sites, FEMA is focusing on the most populous states, which puts DC at the end of the line.
In an email to The Post, Janeese Lewis George, a Democratic D.C. Council member representing Ward 4, decried FEMA’s decision, calling it “part of a broader pattern of D.C. not being treated equitably.”
“Early on we were not given enough vaccines for our health workers, then the federal government denied our request to vaccinate its essential federal workers,” George told The Post. “And now FEMA is using a flawed metric to exclude us from this program.”