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Minimizing vaccine hesitancy among the underserved in Bexar County

Local officials say providing access to vaccines in underserved communities is very important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAN ANTONIO — Coronavirus vaccines have been available for four months now, but there is still great hesitancy among many who are questioning whether to get one.
That is especially the case in underserved areas of the community. 

Minorities have been hit hard and disproportionately by the coronavirus pandemic. The ability for those groups to have access to vaccines is no different and presents a challenge here in south Texas. 

"We've got a lot of working class people who are working nine to five, eight to five every day. And it's difficult to get over to a vaccine center in the eastern half of the county," Tommy Calvert, Bexar County Commissioner for Precinct 4 said.

University Health has worked with Commissioner Calvert to get those vaccines to underserved areas of the community. 

"So in addition to sort of the large hubs that we've had for several months, we've gotten a lot number of vaccines going to pharmacies, some physicians offices, some community clinics, which is great," Dr. Bryan Alsip the Chief Medical Officer with University Health said.

Some social determinants of overall health include physical environment, access to better health, health care facilities, occupation, job conditions, income, wealth and education, which is especially important when it comes to the education about the safety of the vaccines. 

"Provide useful information that often can come from sources that are trusted in the community or can also come from health care institutions. But I think individuals that they trust and value most are probably the most influential in getting them immunized," said Dr. Alsip. 

Calvert said, "I've used my own testimony. I'm not going to ask anyone to do anything I wouldn't do. I've taken the vaccine and I haven't grown a third eye. I'm doing just fine."

University Health has three locations where you can walk-in and get vaccinated. Calvert says that is important for seniors who can not get out and need help getting to a provider. The information about the locations are as follows: 

Wonderland of the Americas COVID-19 Vaccination Center, located at 4522 Fredericksburg Road at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Loop 410. Open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. This location features free, convenient parking and is on several VIA bus routes.

St. Philip’s College COVID-19 Vaccination Center, located at 1801 Martin Luther King Dr. in the St. Philip’s College Library/Center for Learning Resources. The center is located at the intersection of Walters and Wyoming Street. Shots are available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. This location also offers free convenient parking and is on several VIA bus routes.

Robert B. Green Campus Vaccination Center, located downtown at 903 W Martin St. Vaccinations are available on Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Free COVID-19 vaccines are available to all adults. Those who are 16 and 17-years-old must bring a parent or guardian to their appointment.