With the vaccine supply growing, public health officials will look to reach out to communities that voice hesitancy over getting the shot.
With the vaccine supply growing, public health officials will look to reach out to communities that voice hesitancy over getting the shot. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Quick programming note: Beginning this week, The Curve is going to be published on Mondays and Thursdays, following the move by local officials to reduce the daily COVID-19 briefings to those two days. We’ll be using this time to retool this newsletter; let us know your thoughts.

Vaccine registration portals throughout the state on Monday saw a new freshly-eligible-for-vaccination cohort of adults ages 16 to 49 who do not have underlying health conditions.

The state will hope its new public health vaccine scheduler can ease the stress on online booking systems, as demand still exceeds vaccine supply. The new site gives Texans a tool that aims to match registrants with a vaccine appointment within a day of signing up. The turnaround might not be that quick for everyone, but the scheduler will continue working to find registrants an appointment, according to the Department of State Health Services.

Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger said Monday that two-thirds of the City’s 30,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments made available Thursday have been booked online. The rest are being reserved for older residents who don’t have access to computers or the internet.

Bridger said she’s concerned, now that the state has made everyone age 16 or older eligible for a shot, it may become harder for residents considered high-risk for COVID-19 to get vaccinated.

“We are still very much focused on vulnerable populations,” she said. “We’re really trying hard to make sure that we have multiple systems in place so that people who don’t have access to the internet still have access to get appointments.”

Residents age 80 and older have the ability as of Monday to get vaccinated even without an appointment. The state’s announcement last week that it would lift vaccine eligibility requirements included a provision that people age 80 or older could bypass lines at vaccination sites.

That might not bring a preponderance of older residents to vaccination sites, as 60% of Bexar County residents have already received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 30% of Bexar County residents age 16 or older have gotten at least their first shot, according to the City.

The state opened eligibility to everyone older than 15 in part because it expected to receive a greater supply of COVID-19 vaccines. On Saturday, it announced about 1 million first-dose vaccine allocations for this week. Bexar County was due to receive more than 51,000 of those weekly doses, but that’s not a substantial increase from previous allocations. Here’s where the vaccines are going, according to DSHS.

As cases rise throughout the United States, there continues to be fear of a coming surge in cases. Nationwide, the coronavirus case rate jumped 11% from week to week in light of several states lifting coronavirus restrictions. However, in Texas, which made waves for being among the first states to do away with COVID-19 regulations, the case rate remains in decline.

Of the more than 44,000 coronavirus tests administered in Bexar County last week, 2.1% turned up positive. That’s a decrease of 0.2% from last week’s positivity rate.

With 159 new cases of the coronavirus reported in Bexar County on Monday, the seven-day case average stood at 183. Hospitals saw an increase of 10 coronavirus patients on Monday. More than 17.2% of Bexar County residents old enough to get the shot have been fully vaccinated.

Here are the local coronavirus numbers as of 7 p.m. Monday:

  • 205,258 total cases, 159 new cases
  • 3,144 deaths, no new deaths
  • 192 in hospital
  • 78 patients in intensive care
  • 38 patients on ventilators
  • 263,611 residents fully vaccinated

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.