Williamson County comes up with vaccine hub plan; submits to state for approval

Williamson County

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — During a regularly scheduled Jan. 12 commissioners court meeting, Williamson County laid out its plan to vaccinate phase 1B residents in mass quantities.

Williamson County sent the plan to the Texas Department of State Health Services for approval on Monday. It details how many county residents would be eligible to receive the vaccine, where and the healthcare entities who are joining forces to make it happen.

Healthcare entities involved

Family Emergency Room and Curative Medical Inc. have been enlisted by Williamson County to distribute the vaccine through their appointment systems.

Family Emergency Room’s Cedar Park location has secured an ultra-cold storage refrigerator which would allow the county to keep the Pfizer vaccine at its required near-freezing storage temperature.

“We are not limited in Williamson County. Some were limited to just Moderna. Family Emergency is prepared. They purchased it, and have it in stock so they can handle the Pfizer vaccine,” said Williamson County Executive Assistant Kathy Pierce.

Kathy Pierce says Family Emergency has the ability to administer 500 vaccines a day at its 5 sites which would come out to 2,500 vaccinations a day. Pierce says Family Emergency already has 8,000 people on its waiting list.

KXAN reached out to Family Emergency Rooms. They were only able to provide a statement at this time:

“Family hospital systems is honored to continue partnering with Williamson County to vaccinate as many people as we can. We cannot get into further specifics at this time because we are waiting for the state to execute our plan. As soon as we get the allotment of the vaccine, be assured we are ready to go.”

Distribution sites

The county is looking to setup four large distribution sites. Three of which have already been confirmed: The Sun City Community Ballroom, Williamson County Expo Center in Taylor, and the Dell Diamond in Round Rock. The county is working to confirm the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Austin.

The Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex would most likely serve as a drive-thru vaccine clinic. Williamson County says it has the ability to set up 10 lines and operate 14-hours a day.

Distribution would first begin in Sun City and Georgetown where its residents are primarily over the age of 65.

Commissioner Valerie Covey spoke during Tuesday’s Commissioners Court both with both passion and frustration over the lack of vaccine access for residents in her precinct.

“In my office, being in Precinct 3, we have a lot of folks who would qualify for this category,” said Commissioner Valerie Covey during Tuesday’s court meeting. “There’s been a lot of frustration. There’s been a lot of anxiety about, ‘When am I going to get the vaccine? Do I need to drive to Dallas?’ The last thing I want is for someone to leave their home, their home area, to have to get the vaccine.”

How many vaccines

Commissioner Covey says officials believe Williamson County has 120,000 residents who would qualify to receive the vaccine as apart of phase 1B.

“We have put together a very solid plan, I believe, to administer a lot of doses rapidly, yet we are waiting on the doses from the state.” said Covey. “I want the state to hear us. I also want our folks in Williamson County to hear us. We are working diligently.”

Commissioner Covey says the state looks at requests each week and expects to hear back from DSHS by Monday.

“It will happen over time,” said Covey. “I don’t imagine we’ll get all of the vaccines at one time, but as we start administering the vaccine, we will be getting more each week.”

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