‘It’s been a long time coming’: Williamson County firefighters receive first COVID-19 vaccines

Williamson County

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Williamson County area first responders received the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine Saturday as part of the phase 1-A vaccine distribution.

Among the 121 people to receive the Moderna vaccine Saturday is Sam Bass firefighter, Corby Bryan.

“It’s been a long time coming. This has been a tough year,” said Bryan. “My parents spent over 40 days combined in the hospital due to COVID-19.

Bryan and his siblings spent thousands of dollars to cover bills, personal protective equipment, food and medicine for their parents. On top of that, they spent countless hours video chatting as they tried to get their parents through a difficult time.

After receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine he’s feeling refreshed and encouraged.

“I know there is some hesitation to get the vaccine, but I think it’s really important that we get this thing moving,” said Bryan.

The first Moderna dose is being distributed to eligible staff from 15 local fire departments and four long-term care facilities over the course of four days in Williamson County.

“It’s one of those things that when members find out that another employee tested positive, then they start having some fear or anxiety about what that means,” said Leander Fire Chief, Billy Wusterhausen. “There has just been a lot of anxiety for our staff this year when they get off and go home.”

“Our people are out there every day. Sometimes they know it’s a COVID patient, but sometimes they don’t. If we can get them vaccinated, at least that’s another barrier to keeping them safe and healthy,” said Dave Lincoln, Leander Fire Division Chief.

Lincoln received his first dose Saturday too. Lincoln took on the role of ‘infection control officer’ at the start of the year. It’s been a duty that’s become his number one priority this year.

“It’s taken up a lot of time, especially during contact tracing when we have to track them down,” said Lincoln.

Lincoln says fortunately the Leander firefighters who have contracted the COVID-19 virus this year have only had mild symptoms, but being first in line to receive the vaccine relieves a lot of that heavy-weighing anxiety.

“I just appreciate the opportunity to get it this early and try to be protected,” said Lincoln.

Included in Group 1A are also school nurses from Williamson County ISDs, and those in mortuary care who are now also scheduled to receive vaccines.

WCCHD invites any Williamson County first responders who engage in 9-1-1 emergency services like pre-hospital care and transport, school nurses, mortuary care and long-term care facilities staff that are not enrolled in the federal pharmacy program to receive the vaccine during the next three days by emailing WCCHD at wcchd-info@wilco.org to register for an appointment.

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