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Two San Antonio city council members call for ‘equitable’ approach in COVID-19 vaccinations

Viagran, Rocha Garcia want to make sure South Side hospitals, clinics are able to get vaccine doses

Author: Fares Sabawi (Ksat12)

SAN ANTONIO – Two city council members who represent San Antonio’s South Side want officials to focus on the most vulnerable communities of the city when distributing COVID-19 vaccinations.

The first doses of the vaccine will be reserved for front-line health care workers. But as more doses become available, District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran and District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia said the city needs to keep in mind underinsured residents on the South Side, who have been harder hit by COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions.

“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,” Rocha Garcia said.

The city’s COVID-19 dashboard shows that some of the most active COVID-19 cases are located in South Side ZIP codes.

The first phase of vaccine distribution did not include South Side hospitals because they do not have the cold storage capacity necessary to store the vaccine. Still, healthcare workers in those hospitals can get vaccinated at the other San Antonio hospitals that will receive the first doses.

“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,” Viagran said. “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.”

If the city doesn’t ensure its most vulnerable populations get vaccinated, residents in the South Side “will continue to suffer inequity,” Viagran said.

Both council members thanked the hospital systems who are receiving the vaccine for providing it to health care workers across the city, regardless of where they work.

Experts have said that the vaccine likely won’t be available to the general public until the spring of 2021.

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