During a Jan. 19 Commissioners Court meeting, County Judge Bill Gravell said the county initially asked for 30,000 vaccines last week, at which, he said, state health officials “laughed.” The state agreed to send 6,000 vaccines.
Gravell said the county was unsure of when the vaccines would arrive but that he was determined to get shots in arms as soon as they do, even if it means inoculation on the weekends.
The shots will be distributed through FER, who has also aided the county in coronavirus testing at its several Williamson County locations. FER is a hub vaccine provider and able to vaccinate those who qualify under Phases 1A and 1B. When the allotment is received, a registration link will be available at www.wilco.org; however, the county will not be managing appointments, officials said.
While the county estimates it has about 120,000 residents who qualify under Phases 1A and 1B, state estimates are closer to 250,000. So far, FER has registered nearly 40,000 people, county officials said.
The county continues to finalize details for a broader vaccine distribution plan, including vaccine in-person and drive-thru hubs throughout the county, starting in Sun City in Georgetown. Officials said when those hubs are in place, anyone who qualifies can receive the vaccine, but they must make an appointment first or they will not be vaccinated.
However, the county needs the vaccines before any plan can be implemented, officials said.
“We want to roll [vaccine distribution] out as broadly as we have the vaccine supply to do it,” Commissioner Cynthia Long said.
Gravell said it is the responsibility of the county judge to ask for vaccine allotments from state health officials each week. Decisions are made on Mondays. Gravell said he intends to ask the state for 33,000 vaccines but that the county must first prove it is able to distribute that amount.
“[What] I have been promised from the state folks is that the sooner we put shots in the arms, the sooner they will continue to meet our demands and then increase that supply,” Gravell said.
The 6,000 doses will be the first round of vaccines the county has received. Other private entities, such as health care providers, hospitals and pharmacies, have received and are distributing vaccines, but those efforts are separate from the county’s, officials said.
Vaccine provider locations can be found here; however, it is recommended that individuals call the provider to verify location, hours, availability, and eligibility at that site. Not all providers are vaccinating the public or people in all priority groups.
The vaccine is free, regardless of the recipient's insurance status.
More information on the coronavirus vaccine can be found on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.