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Inside San Antonio’s other budding mass vaccination operation

South-side clinic opening more routes for residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

SAN ANTONIO — Inside the Elvira Cisneros Senior Community Center WellMed clinic on the south side, a mass vaccination effort is underway this week. 

“The south side of San Antonio is an area of concern,” said Dr. Michael Almaleh, WellMed chief of cardiology and specialty care. 

Almaleh said registration at their clinic is being handled differently than in other places. 

“We have a very large call center. We’re using telephone registration instead of online registration, because that solves some of the issues in equity,” Almaleh said.

And the operation is growing; Almaleh said they're in the process of expanding to 50 phone operators. 

“We’re going to get everybody vaccinated for as many days in a row as we can until the entire city is vaccinated,” he said. 

Inside the clinic, safety remains a top concern. Signage shows where people go, stand and sit so that each visitor is socially distanced from the next.

“We’re really able to vaccinate a lot of people in a very safe manner," Almaleh said. "The response has been fantastic, and we have the ability to expand."

He added that, so far, physicians have been able to get people in and out in about 22 minutes; their goal is to immunize about 1,000 a day. Which is important because, for the people who live on the south side of town, every minute matters.

“There is clearly adverse outcomes or worsened outcomes when it comes to COVID-19 in our underserved populations," Almaleh said. "That’s why this center is so important."

To register for the vaccine, call (833)968-1745. The toll-free phone line will be answered between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week.