City of San Antonio officials announce that the Alamodome will serve as a no-cost mass COVID-19 vaccine site. The site will require registration and will be able to vaccinate approximately 1,500 persons per day, beginning next week. Photos taken on January 8, 2021.o officials announce that the Alamodome will serve as a no-cost mass COVID-19 vaccine site. The site will require registration and will be able to vaccinate approximately 1,500 persons per day, beginning next week. Photos taken on January 8, 2020.
The Alamodome mass vaccination site will have to be closed if the state does not increase its supply of first doses, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

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The Alamodome’s mass vaccination hub has been getting fewer and fewer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in recent weeks.

Even after the winter storm slowed down the vaccine rollout throughout the country this week, the dome will only be receiving a little over 2,300 doses next week – less than a quarter of its typical allotment earlier in its operation. That supply, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, will only be enough to administer second doses of the vaccine while first doses have stuttered in light of the diminishing vaccine shipments.

“It’s ridiculously low,” Nirenberg said Friday, adding that he had a constructive conversation with Gov. Greg Abbott and other state officials about his concerns. “I told them that our situation is dire. If we don’t get more first-dose vaccines, we’re going to have to shut down the Alamodome because we just won’t have supply to put in people’s arms. They voiced commitment to get us more doses here.”

Nirenberg warned earlier this month that if the City of San Antonio mass vaccination site’s weekly dose allocation did not begin to increase, it may be forced to close. At the same time, Nirenberg implored the federal government to establish a so-called supersite in San Antonio, whose population includes a disproportionate amount of vaccine-eligible residents due to underlying health conditions.

San Antonio, at least thus far, has not had that call answered. On Friday, the federal government announced new sites in addition to its initial pilot locations in Dallas, Harris (Houston), and Tarrant (Arlington) counties. Those five new sites will be located in Jacksonville, Miami, Orland, Philadelphia, and Tampa.

Nirenberg said White House officials noted his concern about local vaccine supply in a call earlier this week but did not directly commit to establishing a supersite in San Antonio.

“We’re counting on the state to step in if we don’t get [more doses] in time from the Fed,” he said.

Compounding the concerns, the extreme winter conditions Texas and much of the central United States faced this week slowed down the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to the tune of a 6-million-dose backlog affecting all 50 states, according to NPR.

The coronavirus outbreak in San Antonio has remained low this week. Despite the daily numbers being unavailable amid the winter storm, Bexar County’s hospitals have seen their coronavirus positivity rate fall below 15% for the past seven days, Nirenberg said. Because of that, the state’s COVID-19 protocols allow certain businesses, including restaurants, gyms, and retail stores, to expand their capacity from 50% to 75%. Here is a full list of the types of establishments the order applies to.

The San Antonio Independent School District will offer coronavirus testing to all of its staff and students ahead of a full return to class on Monday, thanks to its partnership with Community Labs. In a press release, Superintendent Pedro Martinez cited the fact that many residents sought refuge in the homes of others during a winter storm that ravaged the city.

“We know people have been in close quarters with family and friends because of the weather, and we want to provide a safe environment when they return,” Martinez said.

The district resumes its free asymptomatic screening on Saturday and will provide testing on a weekly basis.

San Antonio Metropolitan Health District did not provide case data on Friday. Here are the available numbers as of 7 p.m. Friday:

  • 187,746 total cases as of Feb. 13
  • 2,397 deaths as of Feb. 13
  • 696 in hospital, 8% beds available
  • 253 patients in intensive care
  • 142 patients on ventilators, 61% ventilators available
  • 211,429 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)
JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez is the San Antonio Report's audience engagement editor.