As Kerr County continues to prepare for mass vaccinations once supplies are available, some local officials said Monday that it seems like the state is sending an unfair amount to Bexar County.
“Right now, I don’t think it’s equitable in the way it’s been distributed,” said William “Dub” Thomas, county emergency management coordinator.
Speaking at Monday’s meeting of the Kerr County Commissioners Court, Thomas said those first in line to be eligible for vaccinations in Kerr County — people in tier 1A — were still waiting on further shipments, while San Antonio already started to vaccinate those next in line — 1B — people over age 65 and anyone 18 years or older with a chronic medical condition.
“We’re stuck in 1A right now, since we’ve had so few vaccines come into our county,” Thomas said. “All the rural counties around Bexar County are the ones that pushed that hospitalization rate over 15%. Because we were running at like 25, 30%.”
Thomas said he was organizing volunteers to run a call center to begin preregistering local people for vaccinations. Once local vaccine stores are replenished, those who have registered will be notified. The phone number for the call center will be released after the facility is set up.
Vaccination stations will be set up at Kerrville First United Methodist Church, First Prebyterian Church, Schreiner University and the Hill Country Youth Event Center, Thomas said.
Due to the limited number of vaccines sent to health care providers in Kerr County, the vaccine hasn’t been available locally to many people besides nursing home residents and frontline health care workers. A greater range of people have been able to receive it in Bexar County, but supplies are short there as well.
“Appointments for the city of San Antonio’s first mass vaccination event filled up in minutes, demonstrating the overwhelming demand for the COVID-19 vaccine,” states a Jan. 9 press release from the city of San Antonio.
San Antonio had offered 9,000 doses of vaccine to health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, anyone over age 65 and anyone 18 years or older with a chronic medical condition. Eligible medical conditions included cancer, kidney disease, COPD, heart conditions, solid organ transplant recipients, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease and type two diabetes.
Thomas said his understanding of how vaccine supplies are allocated is that the federal government distributes it to the state health department and the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and from there, supplies go to local health care providers.
“If you really need it, you can go to San Antonio to get vaccinated,” Thomas said, adding that people don’t need to be residents of Bexar County to get it there.
Two COVID-19 vaccination hubs may distribute the vaccine in Bexar County when supplies become available. The city of San Antonio will announce availability on its social media pages: