Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that over $7.5 million of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding is headed to Benton and Josephine counties to boost the distribution of coronavirus vaccines to Oregonians.
“One of the most important things we need to be doing right now to save lives and get to the other side of this crisis is getting vaccines into as many arms as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Merkley. “We fought to get this funding for our communities, and Benton and Josephine counties are just the start. We’ll continue to push for additional resources to help us on that mission. I will continue to do all that I can to get vaccines distributed to every community in Oregon.”
“Recovery from this public health crisis in Oregon and nationwide requires a full-court press to make sure everybody who wants a vaccine can get one as soon as possible,” Wyden said. “I’m glad Oregonians in Josephine and Benton counties have secured this funding to accelerate vaccinations in their communities, and I’ll keep battling to make sure similar support is headed to every nook and cranny statewide.”
The FEMA funding was made available through theCoronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Nearly $4.5 million of the funding is headed to Josephine County, where it will help cover costs associated with labor, security, refrigeration, supplies, equipment, and facility rentals for two vaccination centers in Grants Pass and Cave Junction—which together will administer up to 3,000 vaccinations per day for approximately 90 days.
The remaining $3.1 million will assist vaccine distribution in Benton County, by supporting additional staffing for vaccine distribution call centers; purchasing software for more efficient call center service; creating mass vaccination events; and ensuring that Benton County residents have access to vaccine information, regardless of their access to technology.