Wilco judge calls health department’s Christmas closure ‘hogwash,’ county sits on 900 COVID-19 vaccine doses

Coronavirus

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell criticized county public health officials on Friday for closing down operations until after Christmas instead of administering hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine doses they received earlier in the week.

The Williamson County and Cities Health District received 900 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday but will not administer the doses until clinics reopen on Saturday. First reported by the Texas Tribune, health district officials said the shipment of doses arrived early and they feared a change of plans could cause confusion.

“My response is simple: hogwash,” Gravell told KXAN on Friday. “Cedar Park Regional Medical Center is prepared to launch the vaccine within one hour. St. David’s was prepared to launch it in one hour.”

“We’re sitting on something that could have been a Christmas miracle.”

This batch of vaccine doses is meant for firefighters, those who provide mortuary or death services and school nurses.

In a letter this week, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt called on agencies involved in COVID-19 vaccination to “administer their entire allotment with all deliberate speed,” adding “every day a vaccine sits on the shelf is another day that prolongs the pandemic.”

On Christmas Eve, Williamson County recorded its 200th death tied to the coronavirus.

“This is a Christmas miracle for Central Texas for those first responders who want to take the vaccine. We’re hiding it. We’re hoarding it. We’re hanging on to it, and we’re not sharing,” Gravell said.

WCCHD will begin a four-day vaccination event Saturday at 7:30 a.m.

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