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WellMed to re-open COVID-19 vaccination hotline this Saturday to schedule appointments

The WellMed hotline has received more than 7.9 millions calls since Saturday.

Authors: Megan Ball and Henry Ramos (KENS 5)

SAN ANTONIO — If you were unable to schedule an appointment to get a vaccine at one of the two WellMed centers this past weekend, you'll have another chance this Saturday.

The health care company has received 9,000 more doses for it south and west side sites. Tomorrow, WellMed will re-open its COVID-19 hotline on Saturday, January 16 to schedule appointments for those 9,000 doses.

The toll-free number to schedule that appointment is 833-968-1745. The hotline will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until appointments are filled.

As a reminder, at this time, health care workers, anyone age 65 and older, and adults 18 and older with chronic health conditions are eligible to be vaccinated.

No-cost vaccinations will be held at the following WellMed center locations:

Elvira Cisneros Senior Community Activity Center

517 SW Military Drive

San Antonio, TX 78221

Alicia Trevino Lopez Senior One-Stop Center

8335 Culebra Road

San Antonio, TX 78251

Again, you MUST schedule an appointment over the phone to receive the vaccine at either location. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

WellMed is asking those trying to schedule appointments via phone to be patient and persistent. Due to the high call volume, callers who cannot get through to a customer service representative are encouraged to keep calling back.

If phone lines are overwhelmed, you will hear one of two messages:

  • On a cell phone: “The line you are trying to reach is out of service.”

  • On a landline: “All circuits are busy. Please try your call later.”

Also, if you are cut off after getting through to the recorded greeting, it means all operators are on calls. It is also possible the call will not go through at all. These all are issues with the phone service provider.

Since Saturday, the WellMed COVID-19 vaccination hotline has received more than 7.9 million calls.

On Friday, Annabelle Castillo brought her 89-year-old father to the WellMed center on SW Military to get the COVID vaccine. She was lucky enough to land a spot in the first batch to get an appointment set for her dad, who is blind and deaf.

He got the shot Friday.

"It's liquid gold," she said. "Not everyone is entitled right now. No money can get you, what you are getting today, Daddy."

The daughter said she can count on one hand how many times her father has been out of his home since last March.

"His fear is being in the hospital without me being there with him," she said.

Castillo knows the pain of the virus.

"Last July, was three funerals—same family," Castillo said. "Aunt, uncle, cousin. It was the worst."

The WellMed Cisneros Senior Community Center is vaccinating about 113 people an hour. But far more people are calling in and not getting appointments due to the limited supply of the vaccine.

District Four City Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia is hearing the frustrations.

"We know that there is frustration," she said. "We just ask for a little more patience."

The councilwoman advised residents to keep calling until they get through to set the appointment. She personally called the number more than a 100 times to help a resident.

"There were 33,000 calls coming in at one given time a few days ago," she said. "So, the telephone company can't even handle this. You might get a busy signal. you might get a call drop. You might have to call again, because the line is unavailable."

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