FEMA News Release – Partners to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccinations in Yakima County at Pilot Community Vaccination Center

A Pilot Community Vaccination Center (CVC) will open in Yakima, Wash., on March 31 to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations to Yakima’s historically underserved communities at high risk of infection.

This joint effort from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Washington’s Department of Health (DOH) and Emergency Management Division (EMD), Yakima Health District, and Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management will include a fixed, drive-thru vaccination site at the Central Washington State Fair Park as well as mobile vaccination units. Through this partnership, vaccination capacity at this location will expand from approximately 200 vaccines per day to 1,200 vaccines per day between the fixed, drive-thru site and mobile units.

The additional vaccine doses will be provided directly by the federal government and will not be taken from the state or county’s regular allotments. The Yakima County Pilot CVC and accompanying mobile units will expand upon the current county-wide vaccine distribution efforts to include vaccination services to the rural and agricultural communities, including Selah, Naches, Wapato, Toppenish, Zillah, Sunnyside, Mabton, and Grandview.

“This partnership is a positive step toward ensuring all eligible individuals who want a COVID-19 vaccine have access to one. These 1,200 daily vaccine doses will make sure that Yakima’s rural, underserved communities with a high risk of COVID-19 infection are receiving the help they need,” said FEMA Region 10 Acting Administrator Vincent J. Maykovich.

“We are so appreciative to FEMA and our other federal partners for working with the state to make significant additional resources available to the people of the Yakima Valley,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “This will be a tremendous boost to our vaccine equity efforts and will also reach out directly to Washingtonians who don’t have the means of transportation to a fixed vaccination site.”

Communities in Yakima County have been particularly hard-hit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with disproportionately high infection and hospitalization rates as compared to the rest of Washington and the region. Nearly 20% of Yakima residents live below the poverty line. The rural county leads the state’s agricultural and food processing industries.  Residents include a significant proportion of essential workers who cannot perform their work from home. People from racial and ethnic minority groups have accounted for approximately 50% of the county’s COVID-19 cases.

“We are grateful for the support from our federal, state, and local partners as we work to vaccinate as many people as quickly and equitably as possible,” said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH. “Additional vaccine will help us slow disease transmission, protect our communities from variants of concern, and pave the pathway back to normal. This site and these new doses will make a difference as we work to vaccinate high-risk critical workers in agriculture and food processing during Phase 1B-2.”

“Yakima County is pleased to host a Pilot Community Vaccination Center.  Support from our federal partners will allow us to distribute much-needed vaccine to members of our community using our drive-thru location and mobile vaccination teams throughout our agricultural valley.  We welcome the partnership with the state and federal government in our local vaccination efforts,” said Ron Anderson, Yakima Health District Board of Health Chair and Yakima County Commissioner.

The Yakima County Pilot CVC will open on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. The address of the Central Washington State Fair Park is 1301 S Fair Ave., Yakima, WA 98901, and this fixed site will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday—Wednesday and Friday—Sunday. On Thursdays it will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mobile unit locations and hours will be available and updated on the Yakima Health District website YakimaHealthDistrict.org.

Please check your phase eligibility using Phase Finder. Then, register for an appointment on Prep-Mod  or call 1-800-525-0127.Proof of eligibility is required, which may be an employer/provider letter, work ID badge, or screenshot of Phase Finder approval.

In alignment with President Biden’s plan to respond to COVID-19, FEMA continues to work with our state, local, and tribal partners to expedite vaccinations across Region 10 in an efficient, effective, and equitable manner.