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This article has been updated.
WellMed and the San Antonio Metro Health District said Friday they each have received 9,000 more coronavirus vaccine doses to distribute at mass vaccination sites. WellMed will reopen its COVID-19 hotline Saturday, while Metro Health is opening appointments online and via the 311 line beginning immediately.
To make an appointment through Metro Health for a vaccination at the Alamodome, visit covid19.sanantonio.gov/vaccine or call 311 and select option 8. A busy signal indicates that all operators are taking other calls, and callers should try again.
Appointments booked through Metro Health on Friday will be for approximately 2,000 slots on Monday; on Saturday, the City will make available 2,000 slots for Tuesday. City officials are not releasing the 2,000 slots at a specific time, and said they will be added throughout the day. They suggested residents keep checking the website for availability.
Availability will continue on this staggered basis until all slots are reserved, City officials said in a statement Friday. The registration system will continue to reopen as appointments become available due to cancellations.
The toll-free number to call to make an appointment for one of the two WellMed clinics is 833-968-1745. The hotline will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, including on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, until all appointments are filled, WellMed officials said. Callers who hear a dial tone or out-of-service message should continue trying to call. This has been an issue as phone lines get flooded, a WellMed spokesman told the San Antonio Report earlier this week.
“We ask that you please be patient and, if need be, persistent,” WellMed said in a statement Friday morning. “Since Saturday, Jan. 9, the WellMed COVID-19 vaccination hotline has received more than 7.9 million calls. Because of that high volume, callers who cannot get through to a customer service representative are encouraged to keep calling back.”
Walk-ins will not be accepted at any vaccination site. People must have an appointment to get vaccinated, WellMed and City officials stated. Appointments at WellMed will also start Monday and go through next week, said Dan Calderón, vice president of communications and digital media at WellMed Medical Management.
WellMed’s two mass vaccination clinics are located at the Elvira Cisneros Senior Community Activity Center at 517 SW Military Dr. and the Alicia Trevino Lopez Senior One-Stop Center at 8353 Culebra Rd. Metro Health is using the Alamodome as a mass vaccination hub.
The two WellMed centers received a total of 9,000 vaccines from the Texas Department of State Health Services and plan to distribute 1,000 doses per day at the Cisneros Center and 500 doses per day at the Lopez Center.
“These vaccinations are being administered at no cost to the public,” said Dr. George Rapier, chairman and CEO of WellMed Medical Management. “WellMed is donating staff and facilities to support these clinics. We are committed to expanding vaccination operations into other parts of the city as more doses become available.”
With demand for the vaccine greatly outweighing supply, city officials have responded positively to the news of receiving additional doses.
“Receiving more vaccines is the hope our community needs during this climate as COVID-19 numbers are on the rise in San Antonio and around the country,” Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (D3) said in a prepared statement Friday morning. “The amount of calls received proves that the COVID-19 vaccine is in demand. Please do not get discouraged if you are not getting through – keep trying.”
Council members are aware that residents are anxious to get vaccinated and reclaim a sense of normalcy, said Councilwoman Ana Sandoval (D7).
“Please know that it will only get easier to get a vaccine in the coming months,” she said. “We are pushing the state to send us more vaccines and looking at every option we have to make getting an appointment easier.”
People eligible to receive the vaccine are those in Phase 1A and 1B. Phase 1A includes frontline health care workers and residents at long-term care facilities. Phase 1B are people 65 and older and those 18 or older with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID‑19.
For more information on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, read our Q&A with local physicians here.