SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – More than 1,000 area residents lined up at Wonderland of the Americas Monday to get the COVID-19 vaccine. People 65 and older, and younger individuals with chronic health issues who pre-registered are getting the free Moderna vaccines from University Health System.
“We had originally set a goal of a thousand, but we think we can squeeze in 1,400 per day,” said George Hernandez, President and CEO of University Health System.
More than 17,000 appointments during the next week-and-a-half filled up in just a few hours after University Health announced on New Year’s Eve that the free vaccines would be offered to individuals who meet the Phase 1 B criteria starting Monday.
While more than a hundred people were in line Monday morning, things were moving swiftly.
“Everyone is designated a particular appointment time, so we’ll be able to handle everybody pretty efficiently,” said Hernandez. “There are always things we can learn in the process. This is the first time around, but the line’s moving.”
An elderly woman named Betty wasn’t supposed to get her vaccination until Monday afternoon, but she was in line hours before her scheduled time.
“I am so excited, you cannot believe,” she said. “I feel like this is the beginning of the end of this thing (COVID-19),” said Betty.
Hernandez is urging people to adhere to their appointment times to keep things moving smoothly. All of those receiving the vaccine in this round will have to wait at least 28 days before returning for the second dose. Hernandez says they’re not reserving the Moderna vaccine for second doses.
“They’ll send us more vaccine for the second dose,” said Hernandez. “We can’t reserve it. We’re just using the vaccine as soon as we get it.”
Fifty-nine-year-old Jay Flexner rolled up his sleeve and took the shot. Flexner told KTSA News he has some underlying health issues.
“My daughter kind of pushed me to do this, so here I am,” said Flexner.
Janine Gomez didn’t have any reservations about getting the vaccine. She said she was “super excited” as she got closer to the inoculation stations.
“We’ve been at home, scared, and this gets us back to life. We’re just excited, said Gomez.
Hernandez says University Health System is expecting another shipment of the Moderna vaccine next week. If you’re in the 1B category, keep monitoring social media and KTSA to find out when you can register for the free COVID-19 vaccine.