A SHOT OF HOPE
Local stadium on deck for first mass COVID-19 vaccination site for Austin suburb
A popular attraction is squaring up to become the first mega-vaccination distributor in Williamson County. Round Rock’s Dell Diamond will transform from a baseball stadium into a mass COVID-19 vaccination site starting March 12.
In collaboration with the Round Rock Express and public health services startup Curative, Williamson County will provide 2,000 vaccines a day at Dell Diamond at no cost to residents, according to a release. The vaccines are available by appointment only and will be given to approved residents on the registered waitlist through Williamson County.
Residents who currently qualify to be on that waitlist and can receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Dell Diamond include frontline healthcare workers, residents of long-term care facilities, educators, residents 65 years old and older, as well as residents age 16 and older who have health-related issues that could be exacerbated by COVID-19.
The Texas Department of State Health Services did announced this week that it is lowering the age threshold for vaccine availability, and that people who fall into the Phase 1C category — meaning those age 50 to 64 — can receive the vaccine, though that doesn’t begin until March 15.
In the meantime, those who currently qualify to receive the vaccine can register for the Williamson County waitlist here. After registering, residents will get an email from the county about vaccine appointment scheduling.
Once onsite, residents will need to visit the registration area in the northwest parking lot of Dell Diamond before proceeding to the east parking lot, where the vaccines will be administered.
The logistics of the operation will be managed by Curative, which says it has already administered more than 17 million COVID-19 tests and has the software resources and infrastructure in place to run the undertaking. Curative will provide healthcare workers, including registered nurses, while supporting vaccine education, registration, and delivery.
Organizers of the Dell Diamond mass vaccine site note it is the collaboration between public-health experts, local leaders, and the private sector that will enable the county to more quickly and safely vaccinate the Round Rock community at large.
“Since the Round Rock Express was founded in 2000, passionately participating in the community has been a pillar of our organization’s core values. It is a true privilege to partner with Curative and Williamson County to use Dell Diamond as a mass vaccination site,” says Chris Almendarez, president of the Round Rock Express. “We are honored to play a role in helping Central Texans receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This collaborative effort will vaccinate thousands of residents a day and help put us on a track back to normalcy.”
The opening of Dell Diamond as a mass vaccine site comes just weeks after Travis County announced the opening its mass drive-thru vaccination site at Circuit of The Americas, with the goal of administering 3,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses a day.
As vaccine production continues to ramp up, mass vaccination sites are likely to have a major impact on the vaccine rollout. And thanks to the new vaccination site at Dell Diamond, some Williamson County residents — particularly seniors — could be vaccinated within weeks.
“We are grateful to the State of Texas for providing us with enough vaccines to open this additional vaccination site,” says Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell, “so that all seniors in Williamson County who wish to receive the vaccine can be vaccinated by the end of March.”