As Nevada Enters Wildfire Season, Rosen Questions FEMA and HHS on Ability to Provide COVID-19 Resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) focused on the federal government’s management of the supply chain, as well as the procurement and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) questioned officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the Administration’s capability to provide COVID-19 resources during a natural disaster, such as a wildfire or earthquake. Senator Rosen also requested an update on the federal government’s vaccine vial supply.

“In Nevada, we are about to enter wildfire season. In the past month, we’ve unfortunately experienced multiple earthquakes, including a 6.5 magnitude event that shook throughout the state. Flooding and other disasters are also possible throughout the year. So, I’d like to hear more about what FEMA and HHS are doing to prepare for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic while we are also responding dynamically to these natural disasters,” said Senator Rosen. “It is absolutely critical that we have a detailed concurrent plan.” 

“How are FEMA and HHS preparing for testing for COVID, treatment for COVID, and vaccine delivery if power is impacted by a natural disaster? Are additional mobile generators for refrigeration systems being acquired? What type of equipment might you need in this scenario, what supply chains would be disrupted, and what do you need from Congress to be fully prepared?” asked Senator Rosen.

“What about our vaccine vial supplies, do we have enough borosilicate – that’s the special glass that we need for those vials to contain the vaccine.  If we don’t have enough, are there alternative materials we can consider using as we ramp up not just syringes, but the vials that are needed as well?” Senator Rosa asked in a follow-up.