THURSDAY, Feb. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The first COVID-19 vaccination sites run by the federal government will be opened in California as the Biden administration employs yet another tool to try to tame the COVID-19 pandemic.
One center will be housed in the Oakland Coliseum where the Oakland Athletics baseball team plays, and the other will be on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles, NBC News reported. Both will be near communities hit hardest by the pandemic, according to Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator. The facilities will be staffed mostly with federal employees.
The federal vaccination centers -- which will be housed in stadiums, school gyms, and parking lots -- will be staffed by workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Biden administration has been increasing the number of federal employees working on the effort and has directed 600 FEMA employees to work on the vaccination program, including 350 at vaccination sites, in addition to thousands of National Guard members in 39 states, NBC News reported. Zients said that FEMA has provided $1.7 billion to 27 states to help pay for transportation, storage, and supplies for their vaccination programs.
"These sites in California are just the beginning," Zients said during a media briefing on Wednesday. "We are working with, in partnership, in states across the country to stand up new sites and will have more to say on that in the coming weeks."