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Smith County selected as COVID-19 vaccination hub by state

Texas will direct most COVID‑19 vaccines received to large sites or hubs around the state to vaccinate more than 100,000 people.

SMITH COUNTY, Texas — There are more than two dozen sites selected COVID-19 vaccination hubs across the state of Texas. 

According to the Texas Department of State Health, two sites will be located in Smith County's Northeast Texas Public Health District and UT Health Science Center at Tyler. 

"We are working on an appointment model," Russell Hopkins, director of emergency preparedness at NET Health, said. "It's much like going to the doctor. You come in right now our waiting list is over 9,000 people, but we will get to those first. In short order, we’ll be able to work through them and get to the point where you look on our website and sign up for the next open slot and signup for what’s convenient for you."

Hopkins says the vaccinations will be given through a drive-thru method at the Harvey Hall Convention Center in Tyler and on days with inclement weather will be inside the building. 

"For the most part we want people to stay in their cars and operate as a drive thru," he said. "We’re much more efficient that way, it’s safer for our staff, for our clients, for them to stay in their car and not get exposed in standing in line or being in an enclosed room when you’re getting your shot."

According to NET Health, there are currently 589 people hospitalized with COVID-19. 

The current percentage of patients hospitalized is 24.33%.

"We are certainly far past the worse scenario that we were talking about 11 months ago," Hopkins said.

Hopkins reminds people to practice measures in which will protect them from contracting the virus, which include: hand washing, social distancing and avoid large gatherings. 

"Eating, talking and singing projects those droplets in the air," he said. "The few people you're around and limiting the amount of time you're around them is very important."

All Phase 1A and 1B individuals are eligible to receive a vaccine. 

To see a list of those locations and register click here

To view where to get tested for free you may visit NET Health's website or click here