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Some city leaders want COVID-19 vaccine to go to hardest hit communities first

Author: SBG San Antonio Staff Reports (News4SA)

SAN ANTONIO - With San Antonio receiving its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, some city leaders are advocating on behalf of the communities with a higher amount of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran and Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia released a statement on Thursday about the need to provide relief to the frontline healthcare workers and areas with the most health disparities.

“I feel we as a City need to be united and intentional on our approach and start our roll-out process on administering the vaccine to high-priority areas," said Councilwoman Viagran. "We have the data, and the numbers reveal that the Southern sector of San Antonio is dealing with the most COVID-19 cases and number of deaths throughout the City of San Antonio and Bexar County."

“As future distribution phases begin to take shape, we need to ensure we utilize an equitable approach as more rounds of COVID-19 vaccines are made available, by including our smaller hospitals and clinics located in our hard-hit communities and serve our constituents in low income areas like the Southside,” said Councilwoman Rocha Garcia.

According to the guiding principles and criteria developed by the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) and approved by the Governor and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the first phase of the vaccine distribution for healthcare workers doesn't include hospitals on the South Side.

"They did not meet the requirements implemented by the State for the first round of vaccines, including those with the highest number of patients in the city, and facilities with the needed ultra-cold storage with enough capacity to store a high number of vaccines," said Councilwoman Rocha Garcia. "All healthcare workers and frontline workers will still have access to the COVID-19 vaccines through other area hospitals. We want to thank our hospital systems for working together to provide vaccines to all our healthcare workers across the city."

Metro Health says around 28,000 initial doses could be here by next Wednesday.

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