Syringes are stacked in preparation for vaccinations at the Wonderland of Americas mall.
Syringes are stacked in preparation for vaccinations at the Wonderland of the Americas mall. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Friday said “it’s very disappointing” that the federal government has not yet answered the city’s call for more vaccines.

Citing a lack of resources, the Federal Emergency Management Agency earlier this month denied San Antonio’s request for a mass vaccination site, according to reporting from the Houston Chronicle. Gov. Greg Abbott has requested FEMA continue its mass vaccination clinics in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas.

Nirenberg said a bipartisan coalition of area leaders has asked for an increase in vaccine allocation but continues to be met with rejection even though its COVID-19 mortality rate is among the highest in Texas and Bexar County ranks first in the country for social vulnerability.

“We have all the reasons you would want to set up a site here in Texas, but to this point, it has not been done,” he said.

City Council will continue to discuss in a future meeting setting up a centralized vaccine registry in San Antonio, Nirenberg said. A COVID-19 vaccine waitlist has been mentioned for weeks in various meetings of the City Council, but officials with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District had recommended against establishing one.

“I welcome that conversation because there is a severe imbalance between the demand for the vaccine and the supply that we have in this community, and we’re working through it the best we can,” he said.

Meanwhile, adults age 80 and older can sign up for a new vaccine registry via University Health’s website. Starting Monday, people age 80 and older also will be able to show up to vaccination sites without appointments and bypass lines, thanks to recently revised guidance from the Department of State Health Services.

A Travis County judge has denied Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to block Austin and Travis County from requiring masks to be worn inside local businesses. The attorney general will likely seek an appeal.

Nirenberg said the City is watching that case closely, but the use of face coverings has been widely observed in local businesses even after the statewide mask order was lifted.

“We’re glad that there seems to be a clear majority of folks out in our community who are continuing to do their part, and masking up is something that they can do to protect themselves and others,” he said.

On Friday, the White House said a new record was set for daily vaccinations, with 3.4 million shots administered. That news came the same day Gov. Greg Abbott announced the state had surpassed 10 million total vaccinations.

With 179 new cases of the coronavirus reported in Bexar County on Friday, the seven-day average climbed by six to 185. A Bexar County woman in her 60s died from COVID-19, as the local death toll increased by one on Friday. About 16.1% 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. Friday:

  • 203,370 total cases, 179 new cases
  • 3,077 deaths, one new death
  • 184 in hospital
  • 75 patients in intensive care
  • 40 patients on ventilators
  • 249,552 residents fully vaccinated

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