SAN ANTONIO — The first day of registration opened at the Alamodome vaccine site Saturday at 9 a.m. City officials reported that 9,000 free Pfizer vaccine appointments were filled in just six minutes. They said more than 11,000 people were on the registration website when it opened. The 311 line to make appointments also, experienced high-volume of use.
KENS 5 received numerous complaints about the registration process. Among the issues, frustrated viewers shared that a “registration full” error message popped up on the site, the “select date” wouldn’t appear or the page froze or calls to 311 were unanswered. The city says the system worked as designed and people were unable to get in because the slots were filled.
“I want to thank the community for their patience as the City works with our State partners to make more vaccine available. The registration system worked as designed, but there is far greater demand than available supply at this time. When we receive more doses from the State of Texas, we will have more appointments available in the coming days and weeks, and we will keep the public informed about registration opportunities,” said Dr. Colleen Bridger, Assistant City Manager.
KENS 5 asked city leaders about how to make the process less frustrating and smoother. Here's a Q&A with them.
Q: What is the best way to stay informed about vaccination openings?
A: The city sent us this statement:
“City of San Antonio’s COVID-19 vaccine registration system will periodically reopen when appointments become available due to no-shows, cancellations or additional doses drawn per vial. Registration is currently closed, as all appointments are taken. When we receive another shipment of doses from the State of Texas, we will announce it publicly.”
Q: Is the city considering a wait list?
A: “There are health departments in the northeast Texas region that have implemented the wait list, Dallas county has. But the Dallas county wait list I'm being told is about100 thousand. So, is there any utility to implementing a wait list at this time?” said Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director of the Metropolitan Health District.
“If we can be assured supply each week, then we'd be able to get you on the list for this week and the next week,” said Nelson Wolff, Bexar County judge.
Q: Can you share what other cities are doing to streamline their vaccination process? Is any other area doing it really well? Is San Antonio touching base with them?
A: The city sent this statement:
“We are exploring possible improvements, but with more than one million residents in Bexar County currently meeting the eligibility requirements (and two million overall), the demand for the vaccine far exceeds the supply. The best solution is more doses, and we are making the case to state leaders that we are ready for more and very capable of delivering them to the people who need them.”
In addition, Dr. Kurian addressed this question during Monday’s live coronavirus briefing.
“The mass vaccination model of rolling out vaccines just began recently,” said Dr. Kurian. “We haven't had really time to evaluate other systems to see if somebody else is doing better. But we are certainly in contact with other health departments and exchange lessons learned.”
Q: What information do people need to fill out the form online faster and lock their spot?
A: Basic identifying information such as their full name, date of birth, address, and phone number.
The city says the goal is to serve about 1,500 vaccines per day at the Alamodome site. The city plans to share information on its social media pages and through the media, when slots reopen on its registration website here.
Another vaccine clinic opened at the Elvira Cisneros Senior Community Center over the weekend and vaccines were administered Monday. Appointments are required by phone (833) 968-1745.
The city also advised that people sign up for COVID-19 alerts in one of the four following ways: