Metro Health to use mass flu shot clinics as ‘pilot test’ for COVID-19 vaccine rollout

One mass flu vaccination event planned for each quadrant of San Antonio

City officials prepare for COVID-19 vaccine
City officials prepare for COVID-19 vaccine

San Antonio – As the city of San Antonio prepares for the eventual rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, it will use flu season as a sort of dry run.

Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger, who is the city’s lead for the COVID-19 response, told city council members in a Wednesday briefing that the city plans to use some of its mass flu vaccination clinics as a “pilot test” of future, mass COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

“This will allow us to test out what works, what doesn’t work, tweak it and be more prepared to do this with the COVID 19 vaccine,” Bridger said.

The city plans to hold at least one mass flu shot clinic in each quadrant of the city, Bridger said.

It’s not just about practice for COVID-19, though. Bridger said this is one of the most important years to get a flu shot.

The city and its community partners have planned more than 50 flu clinic events throughout the city, and it has bought more than double the number of vaccines it normally does.

“We are working with local, state and federal partners to make sure that every time somebody turns around, they have an opportunity to get a flu shot,” Bridger said.

On the other hand, the city isn’t likely to be doing mass COVID-19 vaccinations soon. Bridger said that if even one were to be available in November, it would only be “in extremely small doses.”

“We think that the supply will actually be more readily available in late spring or summer of 2021,” Bridger said.

Bridger said the city is developing a distribution plan for the vaccine, which it needs to submit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention next week for input.

While the city does not know what kind of vaccine will eventually be distributed, Bridger said the city does expect critical infrastructure and frontline workers - like healthcare workers, firefighters, and teachers - to get first priority.

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.