University Health System Eastside Clinic will serve as Metro Health’s main immunization clinic.
University Health System's East Side Clinic will serve as Metro Health’s main immunization clinic. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

In preparation for the back-to-school vaccine rush, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District is expanding immunization services to the city’s East Side with a new clinic set to open on July 2.

The facility, located at 210 Mel Waiters Way at the University Health System East Side Clinic, will feature a large waiting room and parking area and serve as Metro Health’s main immunization clinic. It will offer vaccines required for school, as well as immunizations for protection against hepatitis, tetanus, human papilloma virus (HPV), and the flu.

Increasing vaccine rates has been a priority in Metro Health’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan, and the new clinic has been in the works for more than a year, Metro Health Director Colleen Bridger said.

“The current facility isn’t designed to serve the masses of people needing vaccines to begin the school year,” she explained.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children stay on track with the vaccine schedule starting at birth, up to the age of 18.

The estimated vaccine coverage for the core series of childhood vaccines recommended by the CDC for children aged 19-35 months in 2014 was 66 percent in Bexar County, compared to 64 percent in Texas and 72 percent in the United States, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2016, the immunization rate in Bexar County rose to more than 69 percent.

“Childhood vaccinations is one of the best ways to protect not just our own kids, but kids who can’t be vaccinated due to medical conditions that have rendered them immune compromised,” Bridger said, noting that polio was eradicated from the U.S. entirely due to childhood immunization programs.

The current Metro Health immunization clinic, located in West San Antonio at 1226 NW 18th St. inside the Frank Garrett Community Center, will be closed from June 27 through June 30 as the City works to transition the bulk of services to the East side location. It will remain open on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning July 3.

Appointments can be made at either clinic location by calling 210-207-8894.

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the San Antonio Report.