Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said he predicts at least two of the county’s three mass COVID-19 vaccination sites will close by Memorial Day on May 31.
Gravell said this is due to a dwindling waitlist for the vaccine as well as the host sites needing their parking lots back for events.
“The supply has definitely caught up with the demand,” Gravell said. “I'm not saying it's over; we got plenty of more folks to vaccinate, but I do think the form in which we're vaccinating is going to shift soon.”
There are currently three vaccine hubs in Williamson County as well as several other providers such as pharmacies and clinics. The hubs are the Georgetown ISD Athletic Complex and Dell Diamond in Round Rock, operated by Curative, and Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex, operated by Family Hospital Systems.
Williamson County is not a vaccine distributor but has helped in the distribution process through organizing and curating doses from the state.
Gravell said as of April 14 its waitlist had dwindled to fewer than 50 for those in phases 1A, 1B and 1C and teachers. For all adults over the age of 15, the county has about 40,500 on the waitlist, which can be done in a single day between the GISD and Dell Diamond location, he added.
“I am convinced that we will have vaccinated everybody that wants to be vaccinated completely by [Memorial Day],” Gravell said.
With this, Gravell said the Kelly Reeves location will likely close by Memorial Day because the Kelly Reeves stadium needs its parking lot back for school sports, as is the same case with Dell Diamond, which will again have Round Rock Express games in the summer.
If one operation remained open, Gravell said it would be GISD, but even so, he does not think the demand will be there.
“What you're seeing is just an unwinding,” Gravell said. “You're seeing a step down from the mass vaccination sites, and you're going to see that transition back into doctor’s offices, clinics and [pharmacies].”
Williamson County has also elicited the help from the National Guard to help vaccinate homebound residents beginning April 8, which is helping to increase the rate of vaccinations.
But the vaccine distribution process has not all been smooth.
During the April 13 Commissioners Court meeting, court members aired concern at Gravell’s decision to unilaterally cancel first doses to be distributed to FHS by asking the state to no longer send the doses.
This was due to record errors found by and reported to Gravell by state health officials. While Gravell said he is not surprised the vaccine process would result in some errors due to the sheer number of vaccines that were given a day, he wanted the reports corrected and until then for FHS to take a pause at distributing first-time doses.
FHS did however still receive and distribute second doses, Gravell said. He added FHS has made it known to county officials that with the shorter waitlist, it is looking to go back into its clinic setting and continuing to offer vaccines there.
As far as the lack of communication, Gravell as well as Commissioner Russ Boles said they believed he did as his role requires.
“I serve as the chief executive officer for Williamson County, and it is my responsibility, especially in [vaccine distribution]—I'm in charge of it—and I want to make sure it's done right,” Gravell told Community Impact Newspaper.
Williamson County judge predicts end of most mass vaccination sites by Memorial Day
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell predicted the end of mass vaccination sites by Memorial Day. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)