Q&A: SA Metro Health provides updates on COVID-19 vaccine, effectiveness

Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine?

Now that everyone 16 years and older can get the COVID-19 vaccine, there are still a lot of people in our community who have questions about getting the shot.

Dr. Colleen Bridger, assistant city manager for the city of San Antonio answered some questions about the vaccine.

How will people know when the vaccines are available? How do you sign up?

“Right now, the primary way people are being vaccinated in San Antonio is through one of four mass vaccination clinics,” said Bridger. “We have one in the Alamodome that’s run by the city.”

University Health is offering a vaccination clinic at Wonderland Mall that’s run by University Health and there are various WellMed clinics on the Southside. Each clinic will release information on appointment availability.

“Throughout the week, more and more vaccines are being shipped to our area of pharmacies, our private providers,” said Bridger.

How does the vaccine work? A lot of people don’t think it’s safe. Is it?

“This vaccine is incredibly safe,” Bridger mentioned. “It is not made with live virus. As you mentioned, the old flu shot model, the vaccine is made with just small parts of proteins from the COVID-10 virus that allows the body to recognize it and fight it off if it is exposed.”

Takeaway: The COVID-19 vaccine is “incredibly” safe.

Are there side effects after taking the vaccine?

“There have been very few serious safety concerns with it across the entire United States,” said Bridger. “Now, that’s not to say that you won’t feel a little bit off on the day after, especially your second dose. People have reported having some headaches, maybe low-grade fever, some aches. All that means is that the body is recognizing this as something that needs to fight off and is doing its job.”

Takeaway: There’s no way to get COVID from a vaccine.

How can community health workers reach out to the community to get the vaccines? And then why do people need to take it? Why is it so important?

“We identify those areas of the city by looking at how many people die from COVID in those areas,” said Bridger. “How many people got sick of it in those areas? And how many vulnerable populations live in those tracks? When the answer to all of those questions, I redeploy community health workers out to those areas, sometimes going door to door to find individuals who maybe don’t have access to the Internet or who don’t know how to make an appointment and get them an appointment. Their county has suffered one of the highest fatality rates due to COVID in the state. We do have large numbers of populations with underlying medical conditions that make them much more likely to be hospitalized and much more likely to die. And one thing we know about these vaccines, they’re incredibly effective.”

Takeaway: COVID-19 vaccine is “incredibly effective”.

Is there a cost?

“There is no cost,” said Bridger. “And if you show up to be vaccinated and somebody tries to charge you for that, that is a scam. You, the vaccinators, are allowed to bill your insurance If you have insurance. Your insurance is responsible for covering the administration scene.”

The Eastside Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment only at 210 Mel Waiters Way.

To find out more about the Metro Health immunization program, call 210-207-8790 or click here.