SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio seniors will soon be able to sign up for a vaccine registry, which could make it easier for them to get an appointment.
The San Antonio City Council members present voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon. It was not clear if District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez was on the video conference for the vote to create a registry from which vaccine providers could draw names of people they can contact to fill appointments. City staff say they plan to focus on people 65 and older to start.
The city’s COVID Czar, Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger, said the city has participation from all four of the mass vaccination sites in Bexar County: the city-run Alamodome, the WellMed clinics, the Wonderland of the Americas site run by University Health, and UT Health.
“Participation can be defined differently, but they have all said that when they get to that point, they will reach out to this database and request names of people who meet the criteria of the populations that they wish to serve,” Bridger said.
It could take three to four weeks to develop and open up the registry, Bridger said, which the city will develop with Health Access San Antonio (HASA), a local, health information organization.
The city’s choice to develop a registry already comes late in the game - 16 weeks into the vaccine rollout.
Bridger had previously spoken against the creation of a registry or waitlist, despite their use in other major Texas cities, and council members voted down an effort by District 9 Councilman John Courage in February to create a registry 7-4.
However, when the state opened up eligibility to all Texans 16 and over, elected officials worried that they still weren’t seeing a corresponding increase in vaccines. So Courage, along with District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran and District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, called for a special city council meeting to address it again.
“We have heard for months from residents that signing up for a vaccine feels like a lottery system that only those with fast internet and flexible schedules can win,” Sandoval said in a statement after the vote.
“Once ready, the registry will make it significantly easier for residents 65 years and older to obtain a vaccine appointment.”