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San Antonio leaders ask Gov. Abbott to send more vaccines

Mary Alice Torres gets Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine from University Health System at Wonderland of the Americas Jan. 4, 2021/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Thousands of appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine this week at the Alamodome were booked about six minutes after registration opened  Saturday morning.  Slots were quickly filling up at two other City of San Antonio mass vaccination sites, and Bexar County’s vaccination operation at Wonderland Mall is seeing a similar demand.

In a letter to the Governor, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County  Judge Nelson Wolff said the area is in need of more doses.  San Antonio now has four mass vaccination sites that will administer nearly 30,000 free vaccinations a week.

“To date, 26,000 appointments at mass vaccination sites have been filled rapidly without significant issues other than the lack of enough doses of the vaccine to meet the demand,” they wrote in the letter, adding in bold print, “We are up to the task.” 

Nirenberg and Wolff explained that the community needs more vaccines because of  the prevalence of diabetes and other underlying health conditions in San Antonio and Bexar County, along with the central role the community plays in state and national emergency response.

“Because of our community’s extreme need, we request that you distribute more vaccines to Bexar County as soon as possible. With four mass vaccination sites now set up at multiple locations spread across the city, we have the capacity and have demonstrated the readiness to get as many of our residents vaccinated, as needed, at any given time,” they stated in the letter to the governor.

City Manager Erik Walsh says the city received 187,000 calls and an “overwhelming amount of website visits” when registration opened for the Alamodome.   The facility will be open Monday through Saturday, and officials were expecting to vaccinate as many as 1,500 people a day.

 “Thank you for your patience. We understand some may be frustrated that there are not more doses available, but we are sending the message to state leaders that we are equipped to deliver every dose that we receive,” said Walsh.

When the City of San Antonio receives more doses from the State of Texas, additional appointments will be available.

Through a unique partnership with WellMed Medical Management, Inc. and the City of San Antonio, two San Antonio WellMed senior centers are offering the Moderna vaccine.  WellMed has established a toll-free number that will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 pm seven days a week where eligible residents can make appointments to receive the coronavirus vaccine at Elvira Cisneros Senior Community Center, 517 SW Military Dr.,  or Alicia Trevino Lopez Senior One-Stop Center, 8353 Culebra Road.  That number is 1-833-968-1745.

Dr. Colleen Bridger with San Antonio Metro Health says there are more than a million people in Bexar County who are eligible for the vaccine right now.  That includes healthcare workers, residents of long-term care facilities, anyone over the age of 65, and anyone 16-years or older with a chronic medical condition. Those health conditions include cancer, kidney disease, COPD, heart conditions, solid organ transplant recipients, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease and type two diabetes. Because the Moderna vaccine is only for individuals 18 and older, those who are 16- and 17-years-old with chronic health conditions will be referred to places that administer the Pfizer vaccine.

To register for the vaccine at the Alamodome, Bexar County residents can visit covid19.sanantonio.gov/vaccine, or call 311. Walk-ins will not be accepted. 

To make an appointment at Wonderland of the Americas you can visit this University Health System website. 

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