This article was last updated on Feb. 12.
Doses of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines continue to make their way across the state and into arms. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, nearly 2.8 million Texans have received at least one vaccine dose, and over one million have been fully vaccinated.
About 60% of the Bexar County population is eligible to receive the vaccine under the state’s phase 1A and 1B rollout.
Doses of the vaccine began arriving in San Antonio in late December, but access to the vaccine remains limited. Health officials are still requesting San Antonio residents wear a mask and practice social distancing.
The state’s limited supply is currently reserved for frontline health care workers and specific high-risk populations, with officials anticipating rollout for the general public sometime in the spring of 2021.
On top of the state allocation, the federal government has shipped 80,000 doses of vaccine to 376 pharmacy locations across the state as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Pharmacies participating in Texas include CVS, H-E-B, Walmart, CommuniCare, and select independent pharmacies. Details about these doses are available here.
Here are common questions eligible San Antonians are asking on how to get their doses of the vaccine:
Who is allowed to get a vaccine?
Charged with deciding who gets the vaccine and when in Texas, the state’s Department of State Health Services created the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel.
Phase 1A consists of frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B refers to anyone age 65 or older and/or 16 years of age or older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Such conditions include, but are not limited to, cancer, kidney disease, COPD, heart conditions, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, or Type 2 diabetes.
A parent must make the arrangements for the vaccination of Phase 1B teens ages 16 or 17, who can receive Pfizer’s vaccine but not the vaccine manufactured by Moderna.
How can I get a vaccine?
Vaccine supply remains limited, but more doses are being delivered to providers in San Antonio each week from DSHS.
If you are eligible under Phase 1A or Phase 1B, visit the Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations map to find local sites administering the vaccine. Check the provider’s website for information about vaccine availability, or call the provider if its website doesn’t answer your questions.
If you are a health care worker, DSHS recommends contacting your employer. If you are a long-term care resident, it recommends contacting your caretaker.
Where do I go to get vaccinated in San Antonio?
- University Health: All University Health system vaccine appointments for available supply are currently booked, with all appointments through the week of Feb. 15 already confirmed. UHS administered its 100,000th vaccine shot Friday afternoon. UHS is currently administering both first and second doses daily at Wonderland of the Americas mall. Check for available slots here.
- Christus Santa Rosa: Christus began administering vaccine doses in January to patients who fit into Phase 1B. Vaccinations are by appointment only at this time. You can look for available appointments by visiting the Christus website here and speaking over an instant messaging system with Christus’ virtual assistant “Christy.”
- H-E-B: The locally based grocery store was recently named as one of the recipients for the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Select H-E-B stores will soon resume administering vaccine doses. Check for participating locations and available vaccine slots here.
- Baptist Health: Baptist Health “only [has] a handful of Tier 1A employees and physicians who still need their second dose,” Director of Communications Patti Tanner told the San Antonio Report. The health care system expects to announce plans for Phase 1B in upcoming weeks, Tanner added.
- Methodist Healthcare: Methodist Healthcare is working on administering the vaccine to over 12,000 Methodist Healthcare staff members and providers, said Cheri Love-Moceri, director of corporate communications. Methodist Healthcare will begin offering vaccine doses to health care workers in the broader community shortly, such as staff members in nursing homes, nursing students, EMS providers, and others in Phase 1A who have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated. It also will begin the vaccination of patients in its facilities who fit the criteria provided by the Department of State Health Services, Love-Moceri said.
- UT Health: UT Health San Antonio began vaccinating its own faculty and staff under Phase 1A in December, said Will Sansom, executive director of media communications. UT Health San Antonio has completed vaccinating current employees and students and continues to provide both initial and second vaccine doses to Tier 1B patients in its multispecialty clinical practice. UT Health San Antonio has administered about 42,000 total doses as of Friday. The system was recently named as another vaccine hub but is not open to the general public yet. “We are currently strategizing an approach to extend vaccinations to non-UT Health San Antonio Tier 1B members of the community,” Sansom said. “We will provide further updates as they become available.”
- The City of San Antonio: City officials announced in January that the Alamodome will serve as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site for anyone in Phases 1A and 1B. Just minutes after registration opened, all 9,000 initial appointment slots for the first week were filled. Additional appointments are being opened on a rolling basis. Appointments at the Alamodome can be made by visiting covid19.sanantonio.gov/vaccine or calling 311 and selecting option 8.
- WellMed: WellMed received an additional 9,000 vaccines last week for its two vaccination clinics, located at the Elvira Cisneros Senior Community Activity Center and the Alicia Trevino Lopez Senior One-Stop Center. All available appointments are currently booked. Appointments are booked by calling 1-833-968-1745 when registration is available. WellMed has experienced some technical difficulties over the past few days due to a flood of calls.
- CommuniCare Health Centers: CommuniCare Health Centers is on a list to receive vaccine doses after it was announced Friday as one of Texas’ five health centers qualified for the federal Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program. Its vaccine doses are only for current CommuniCare Health Center patients. The allotment of doses is still being determined. “We will directly contact our eligible patients who fall within vaccine tiers 1A and 1B,” Chief Development Officer Marisol Cortez said.
- Other: The following locations have received vaccine doses from the state, according to allocation records. Contact the sites directly for potential scheduling information:
- 15RX Pharmacy-2
- Bandera Family Health
- Caritas Family Medicine
- CommuniCare Locations
- CVS select locations
- Davila Pharmacy
- Endeavor Clinical Trials
- Foundation Surgical Hospital Of San Antonio
- Gonzaba Medical Group Woodlawn Clinic
- Gruesbeck Medical Clinic
- Kindred Hospital San Antonio
- Legends Pharmacy
- Lung Diagnostics
- Magenta Health
- Mission Trail Baptist Hospital
- Northeast Pediatric Association
- Quality Urgent Care
- Quality Urgent Care Of America
- Sage Medicine
- SAMHD Main Immunizations Clinic
- San Antonio Arthritis Care Centers
- San Antonio State Hospital
- ShurMed Emergency Medical Service
- South Texas Allergy and Asthma Medical Profession
- Southwest General Hospital
- Start Center For Cancer Care
- University Of Texas Medicine
- Stone Oak Family Doctors
- Surgical Arts Center
- Texas MedClinic
- The Emergency Clinic at the Pearl
- The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group
- University Of Texas Medicine Hill Country
- The University of Texas at San Antonio
- Walgreens Pharmacy 15461
- WalMart select locations
- WellMed Management
- Westover Hills Family Health
Who’s getting the vaccine next and when?
According to the DSHS website, the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel is determining what criteria to use for later stages of vaccine distribution.
“Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when the vaccine will be available for the general public, but that may change,” the state website states. “It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.
Will there be enough vaccine for me to get both doses?
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are both done in a two-dose series, set a couple of weeks apart.
The state directed providers last month to use all allocated doses to administer the first vaccine dose to Texans. They have been told there is no need to reserve shots for a second dose because they will get a matching number of doses for that at the appropriate time.
If I made an appointment but have an active COVID-19 infection, can I still come in to get the vaccine?
City officials are asking San Antonians who are actively infected with COVID-19 not to get the vaccine for now.
Getting the vaccine while infected would be “a waste of a shot,” Bridger said during the City’s Thursday night briefing.
“Someone with an active infection is developing the antibodies,” Bridger said. “The same reaction we’re triggering in the vaccination process, your body is already doing because you are infected. So, if you do not feel well, please do not come for your vaccination.”
However, the CDC recommends vaccinations against COVID-19 for anyone who has had the virus in the past because it is unknown how long natural antibodies are effective. Doctors are recommending waiting 90 days after infection before getting the vaccine.
Do you have more questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine? Check out the San Antonio Report’s Q&A with local medical professionals here.