Skip to Content

Desert Diamond Casino discussed as possible FEMA-led vaccination site

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

TUCSON (KVOA) - Pima County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are still in talks about bringing one or more FEMA-led vaccine sites to Pima County. 

Late last month, the county got the okay from the state to start talks with FEMA after the state initially rejected the offer.

At Tuesday's Pima County Board Of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Matt Heinz made a motion that passed unanimously to ask Tohono O'odham Chairman Ned Norris to directly ask FEMA that the Desert Diamond Casino be the location for a FEMA-run vaccine pod. 

Heinz tells News 4 Tucson because the casino is on reservation land, it does not have to be approved by the governor.

"This is taking a long time," Heinz said. "We should already be putting these shots in people's arms. Don't know what's going on, don't care, but let's have the chairman reach out and make an independent request on behalf of his sovereign nation to FEMA that will not be in any way beholden to approval or delay by the governor."

A spokesman for Gov. Ducey said the governor's office is not aware of any additional documents that need to be signed off by Gov. Ducey for this partnership between Pima County and FEMA to work. 

A spokesman for the county said county leaders are in discussions with FEMA right now and there have been talks with the Tohono O'odham nation about using Desert Diamond as a potential site.

Above all, Heinz said he wants to see this opportunity come to fruition any way possible.

"Enough vaccinations coming in from the Feds to fully vaccinate 210,000 Pima County residents in six to eight weeks," he said. "And we need to start that process right away."

Author Profile Photo

Eric Fink

Skip to content