ROUND ROCK, Texas - The people who drove into the Dell Diamond parking lot Friday were not there to watch a ball game. They were there to get a COVID-19 vaccination shot.
"So we are starting with about 2000 appointments, vaccines, today and our plan is to get up to 5000 a day," said Cristin Meehan.
Meehan is with the healthcare provider Curative, which is coordinating the new Williamson County vaccination super hub. "We currently have opened six lines today, which are double-sided, so we have about 12 lanes actually and we will be opening up to 22 lines," said Meehan.
A maze of orange cones and a team of volunteers help drivers navigate through the parking lot. Shots are administered under tents. Among those to roll in and out was Corey Jillett who got his first shot. "No concerns, it was nice and easy simple slip through, and hope to get this all over with," said Jillett.
The plan is to keep this hub operating on a daily basis. Andrew Felts with the Round Rock Express said even with the baseball season approaching, they should be able to avoid getting squeezed by fans and vaccinations.
"We are set up for at least the next two months we’ve got a couple of socially distanced concerts coming up that we’re going to work around, but when you look at the size of this facility and we have 14 acres work to work, with multiple different parking lots, I think if there was a situation where and we open the stadium, to socially distance capacity, there is still some capacity to do vaccines in the parking lot," said Felts.
The site is a critical addition as the county prepares to ramp up and put more people in line.
"We have moved very swiftly through the 1A and 1B, and by this time next week, we will be able to start with the 1C category. But that 1C category in Williamson County could easily be another 100,000 to 150,000 people. I would just encourage our residents to be patient, you’re going to get an email when it’s your time. Make sure you sign up and you’re on the waiting list. And by the way, if you already got a shot somewhere else, sign back on the waiting list and take your name off; for the rest of the community," said County Judge Bill Gravell.
Dell Diamond is the second big hub for Williamson County. The other is at Kelly Reeves Stadium and is operated by Family Hospital Systems. There are those who are not able to make it to a vaccination hub, regardless of how many hubs are set up. That’s why the county is launching a mobile vaccination campaign. Curative is using a fleet of multi-colored vans.
"We are working through some of our nursing homes, assisted-living facilities trying to hit those first. And we will continue to be moving along as needed based on what the county is requesting, but it is to hit those populations in areas where some of those patients can’t get out to use, some are not able to drive, so ate wanting to make sure we hit those as well," said Meehan.
The goal for the Curative mobile units, which are called SOS vans for "Save our Seniors", is to vaccinate 300 to 400 people each week by the end of April.
The county is also launching a similar program called VAX MOB. Those mobile teams will target about 200 individuals at locations like Williamson County Juvenile Services, Hope Alliance, and St. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church in Granger.