In a positive development for San Antonio’s COVID vaccine efforts, the state has designated UT Health San Antonio’s clinical practice a vaccine hub. This unique designation targets a population of over 120,000 of San Antonio’s most medically complex and vulnerable patients (e.g., older patients with cancer and dementia as well as those with complex lung, heart and kidney disease) in Tier 1B who reside in all areas of the city, including every zip code in Bexar County. UT Health San Antonio’s clinical practice is the largest physician practice in the region and cares for more of the sickest patients in the city given its specialty in complex disease management.
This is good news for San Antonians, as early supply of the vaccine has been unpredictable and inconsistent. Through this effort, we can vaccinate more of the sickest, most vulnerable population in our community.
UT Health San Antonio was selected by the state to care specifically for this population of patients, in part, because of its demonstrated effectiveness in vaccine distribution, having already administered more than 16,000 doses efficiently and safely. Too, with its health care infrastructure, it is able to accept, store, administer and track the Pfizer vaccine, which fewer sites are able to handle given the storage and processing of that particular vaccine.
Through its most advanced electronic medical record system, UT Health San Antonio can also better manage health information that is accessible to patients securely 24/7 allowing for real-time communication and access to over 120,000 high-risk patients who reside in all communities in Bexar County.
Given UT Health San Antonio’s state mandate to prioritize and rapidly administer vaccination of this highly vulnerable population and with the supply it anticipates receiving, open scheduling for general public vaccination is not available at this time. UT Health San Antonio has given thousands of doses to other agencies and local health care organizations to ensure front line healthcare workers and others in Tier 1A are vaccinated.
There is a proactive community coalition that has been formed led by the City of San Antonio and Bexar County that is working diligently and tirelessly to address the vaccination needs of Tier 1B and more of our city’s population as supply becomes increasingly available over the next several months. UT Health San Antonio has joined this community consortium that includes the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, University Health and the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC) to continually develop the plan and logistics for mass vaccination of Bexar County residents following the tiered guidelines from the CDC and the state. UT Health San Antonio will continue to share a portion of its vaccine to support the efforts of this coalition to support the needs of our city.
If you are a UT Health San Antonio patient and have received notification from our office that you are now eligible to receive your COVID vaccine, log in to your MyChart account and click the “Schedule Now” button.
· While limited, our community is receiving what is to be expected as a continuous supply of Pfizer vaccine to administer to the sickest and most vulnerable patients across the community.
· Through its efficiency and effectiveness in accepting, storing, and administering vaccine, UT Health San Antonio has been designated a vaccine hub with the mandate to administer to its patients, San Antonio’s most vulnerable population, in Tier 1B.
· In an environment where supply is scarce and unpredictable, this state mandated effort is helpful and supportive in ensuring some significant portion of San Antonio’s sickest and most vulnerable have access to the vaccine. UT Health San Antonio, with its unique ability to handle the intricate requirements of the Pfizer vaccination, is but one good solution to help administer vaccine to this vulnerable population.
· City and county officials are partnering effectively with health providers, community partners and other industries to work through and best manage the scarcity of supply. Communities across Texas and across the country are experiencing this same issue. There is the willingness to partner and distribute the vaccine as U.S. supply arrives, which as of today varies and is inconsistent.
· Like other health care partners in the city, UT Health San Antonio will continue to work collaboratively with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District to give any available supply it may have to support the robust vaccination efforts of Bexar County’s general population and as Tiers expand over the coming months.