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People In Nearby Counties Encouraged To Get Vaccinated In Williamson As Its Waitlist Wanes

Cars line up at a mass vaccine event held by the Williamson County vaccination hub, Family Hospital Systems, at Kelly Reeves Stadium on March 4.
Gabriel C. Pérez
Cars line up at a mass coronavirus vaccine event held by the Williamson County vaccination hub, Family Hospital Systems, at Kelly Reeves Stadium on March 4.

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Williamson County has been able to open its COVID-19 vaccine waitlist to people in the 1C category and get those people scheduled for appointments all in the same week, a county spokesperson said.

The state this month expanded vaccine eligibility to include people in the 1C category — those between 50 and 64 years old — as well as people who work in schools and child care facilities.

As the new categories were announced, Williamson County and its hub, Family Hospital Systems, hosted a vax-a-thon; opened the Dell Diamond complex, where 5,000 people a day can get vaccinated; and expanded its partnership with the health care company Curative Inc. to administer shots.

And now, the number of people on the county's waitlist who are eligible to get vaccinated has dwindled, said Williamson County spokesperson Connie Odom. More than 45,000 people had been fully vaccinated in Williamson County as of Thursday afternoon.

Since the county cannot vaccinate people outside the state's priority groups, Odom said it is encouraging people from other counties to get vaccinated in Williamson.

“I encourage people from neighboring counties to go ahead and get on our waitlist and they can receive a vaccine here,” she said. “We're just trying to ensure that we have everyone who wants to receive a vaccine in those groups, that they have that opportunity first. But we are sticking with the state's priority lists. We cannot go beyond that.”

Family Hospital Systems spokesperson Jen Stratton said she expects more people to try to get appointments as they return from spring break.

Because the hub has proved it can cut down the waitlist, she said, FHS has partnered with Vaccinate Austin to open another list.

Stratton said it will help streamline the process and lift some burden from the county. The county's waitlist won't go away, though, and people on it will get priority in Williamson County.

Allyson Ortegon is a former Williamson County reporter for KUT.
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