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COVID-19

Williamson County Plans To Open More COVID-19 Vaccine Sites, Increase Accessibility For Seniors

VACCINE_20201215_GP_01.JPG
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said the county has administered more than 34,000 COVID-19 vaccines as of Friday. And as many still struggle to get an appointment, he said the county is working to ensure the vaccines reach the community's most vulnerable residents.

The county is planning to open additional vaccination sites and locations where people can go for help registering for a vaccine, Gravell said during a virtual press conference.

So far, vaccines have been administered through the county’s designated vaccine hub, Family Hospital Systems, at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.

Going forward, Family Hospital Systems plans to start allocating some of its doses to other providers to expand the reach of the vaccine in the county — and to help alleviate Family Hospital Systems' waitlist, which has more than 136,000 sign-ups.

Gravell said Family Hospital Systems will operate at Kelly Reeves on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, either Family Hospital Systems or Curative, Inc., will open an additional vaccination site at the Georgetown High School football stadium parking lot.

Family Hospital Systems is also allocating 500 doses to Baylor Scott & White, which Gravell said he expects will be given out next week at the Round Rock location.

The county eventually hopes to open another site at the Dell Diamond.

“We can open all of the mega-sites that we want in Williamson County,” Gravell said, “but until we get a significant amount of vaccine, it's still going to be fairly slow.”

Williamson County Press Conference - January 29, 2021

He also spoke about expanding the county's Vaccine Registration Technical Assistance Sites. These are locations where people can go to get help with the registration process. The county has been using the Sun City Ballroom in Georgetown as such a site and hopes to add two more in Cedar Park and Taylor next week.

Gravell said the site has largely been helping senior adults struggling to operate technology, but the VRTA centers are open to anyone who needs assistance signing up for a vaccination.

The county has more than 81,000 senior adults, and as of Friday morning, about 3,000 had been vaccinated, Gravell said.

He said he is concerned that the technology needed to sign up for a vaccine is difficult for the county's seniors to navigate. He also said he's become aware that four nursing homes in the county did not receive vaccines.

Gravell said he hopes the new efforts will help reach this population, and he is working on a plan to reach people who are unable to leave their homes to get a vaccine.

“I am deeply concerned that the most fragile and important population doesn't have the ability or the know-how to get a vaccine,” Gravell said. “I'm frightful of those senior adults and young adults that are just literally hiding out at home because they don't know how to fill out the pre-registration.”

Got a tip? Email Allyson Ortegon at aortegon@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @allysonortegon

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