SAN ANTONIO — More than a year into the pandemic and several months into widespread immunization efforts, many large coronavirus vaccination hubs are closing down across Texas. And that includes right here in San Antonio.
University Health announced this is the last week for first COVID-19 vaccine shots at the Wonderland Mall. But just because vaccine hubs are transitioning to doctor's offices, it doesn't mean enough people are vaccinated.
"They should still get vaccinated and go to the pharmacy," said Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease specialist with University Health. "It's going to be better for their summer, for their fall and winter to get vaccinated now."
Every day through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., first doses will continue to be distributed on an appointment and walk-in basis at the Wonderland Mall. Second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, including walk-ins, will continue through July 12 while Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine will remain available on request through June 22.
For now, Pfizer vaccines will be available on a walk-in basis every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at UH's Robert B. Green campus.
If you are still on the fence about being vaccinated, experts say the sooner you get it done the better due to the variants which have prolonged the pandemic.
"There's some thoughts now with these variants that are circulating that we should probably be closer to 80% or higher to really reduce the risk of having another large surge of a variant that could come through and affect people that haven't been vaccinated or have natural immunity," Bowling said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Junda Woo, medical director for San Antonio Metro Health, said she continues to come across people who don't believe they should be vaccinated because they've already been diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19.
"And we know that the vaccine gives you longer-lasting, stronger protection than getting sick," Woo said.
Many are also wanting to know if and when we'll need a booster.
"Most people anticipate we will need boosters at some point, but it's not clear at what point to mention that," Bowling said. "Maybe a year because that would put it on par with influenza vaccines."
"They're being studied," Woo added. "It's kind of one of those things that we know after we start seeing more and more breakthrough infections."
According to local leaders, Bexar County reached a majority of its eligible population being fully vaccinated last week. Meanwhile, according to the state, Comal County is 44% fully vaccinated. And rural counties have a longer way to go, with Frio County at 31% and Kerr County 35%.