On Thursday, Ellis County officials announced that the county’s COVID-19 vaccination hub is scheduled to demobilize June 4. Residents who want to avail themselves of the hub’s proximity should schedule their first vaccination no later than May 14.
“We (city of Waxahachie, Baylor Scott and White, and Ellis County) are scaling down our operations as we move closer to an end date of June 4,” county emergency management coordinator Samantha Pickett said. “Friday, May 14, is the last day the vaccination hub will be administering first dose vaccines, with those individuals returning June 4 for their second dose.”
By all reports, the hub has done well and served as a quick and efficient way in which to secure a vaccine. Although it is closing, people will still have access to COVID-19 vaccines through other resources, with Pickett noting the need for the community to continue its work toward becoming vaccinated.
The last chance to schedule a first vaccine appointment through the hub will be the week of May 10-14, which will allow for second shots to be administered through the June 4 closure date. First doses will be administered through Friday, May 14, with only second doses begin given as of Wednesday, May 19.
The announcement comes after a period of what officials describe as a “significantly decreased demand” for the COVID-19 vaccine. After demobilization, Baylor Scott & White will assume control of the county’s surplus Pfizer vaccines. Patients will still be able to schedule appointments for both first and second vaccine doses through the Baylor Scott & White system by following the instructions at https://www.bswhealth.com/covid-vaccine.
Texas DSHS will also distribute more vaccines to other healthcare providers such as Ennis Regional Medical Center, Methodist Family Health Center at Midlothian, Methodist Family Health Center at Waxahachie, U.S. Drug Mart, Red Oak Drug, and Walgreens.
“We are encouraging individuals to sign up and get vaccinated,” Pickett said, noting that people can visit https://www.dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine/#where to find a vaccine provider near them.
Since the Ellis County Vaccine Initiative began Feb. 2, Pickett said a cumulative 74,367 doses (including first and second doses) had been given through April 29 (week 12). Of that total, 4,607 doses had been given this week (the majority of which were second doses).
Through other mobilized efforts, state records indicated up to 104,000 Ellis County vaccines have been administered – representing full vaccination for 66.41% of the population aged 65 and older.
“As county judge, my primary job is to keep our community safe,” County Judge Todd Little said. “Through the valiant efforts of many, we have successfully completed this public-private partnership. From healthcare providers to local governments, and volunteers to first responders, we accomplished this monumental task with remarkable efficiency and will forever be grateful to every person who participated.
“This vaccine initiative has protected the most vulnerable, preserved our healthcare system and resources, and given our citizens the confidence of knowing that in times of need, our community can and will overcome,” he said.
With the hub moving toward its closure and with decreasing demand for its service, organizers also are scaling down on the staffing involved.
“At this time, we do not anticipate needing volunteers past May 5,” Pickett said. “We are basing this on our registration volume at the hub.”
Pickett also extended her appreciation to the volunteers, saying, “We appreciate everyone that has taken the time to volunteer at the vaccination hub. They are the backbone of making the hub efficient and successful. The hub could not run without them.”
It took the efforts of many to make the hub the success it’s been, she said.
“Ellis County doesn’t have a public health department, so our Ellis County local leaders and community came together to make this happen,” she said. “It took a village to administer 74,367 vaccines (as of April 29), of which 33,216 are fully vaccinated and 41,151 have had their first dose.
“I am extremely proud to work with all of our partners in Ellis County that have come together to take care of our wonderful community,” she said.