The importance of caregivers getting the COVID-19 vaccine

It has been well publicized that it is important for residents of long-term care facilities to get the COVID-19 vaccine because of the increased risk of serious health complications for the elderly with COVID, especially for those senior citizens with any type of pre-existing disease. However, it is just as important for caregivers to get the vaccine as well. “Caregivers are working closely with the elderly and the homebound, the majority of whom need a caregiver because of their compromised state of health,” said Pride PHC Vice President Andy Cruz. “If a caregiver were to be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19, it would be very easy for them to pass along the virus to their client. We also want to mitigate the potential of a client passing along this virus to our caregivers.”

Not everyone is eligible to receive the vaccine right now in Texas, but larger numbers are periodically added to the eligibility list. Right now, groups 1A and 1B are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. Group 1A includes healthcare workers in hospital settings working directly with COVID-19 or high risk patients, long-term-care staff and residents, EMS providers, and home health care workers. Pride caregivers are eligible to receive the vaccine as a member of Group 1A. Texans in group B include anyone 65 or older, anyone with a pre-existing condition who is over 16 years of age, or pregnant women. You can find out which groups are eligible at any time in San Antonio by clicking here. 

One of the ways San Antonio is mobilizing to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible is through mass vaccination clinics. WellMed has taken on that task by offering a mass vaccination hotline which allows San Antonians to set up appointments with ease, instead of having to go through online registration which is not as easy for older adults, and those without internet. 

Dr. Michael Almaleh, the Chief of Cardiology and Specialty Care for WellMed and Medical Director for the COVID vaccination efforts for WellMed told KENS 5 News, “We have established two large vaccination clinics for the city of San Antonio. One mass vaccination clinic on the south side of San Antonio in our Cisneros Senior Center and the other one is a large vaccination clinic at our Lopez Senior Center on the west side of San Antonio.” 

The clinic has between 30 and 50 people answering phone lines to registers those wanting a vaccine, but with hundreds of thousands of calls every hour, not everybody will get through, and Dr. Almaleh urges you to not give up. WellMed hopes to vaccinate at least 1,500 people a day as long as they have the supplies. The number to call to schedule an appointment is 833-968-1745. When they have the doses, the hotline is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

The Alamodome also has a mass vaccination site for those who are eligible to get the vaccine. That site is run by Metro Health and periodically gets thousands of doses. “Once the doses become available, you are able to register through the City’s COVID-19 vaccination page,” said Cruz. Just click here to register, but understand spots fill up quickly. The site operates from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with both in-person and drive-thru options. 

Other locations offering the vaccine include the Brooke Army Medical Center, Christus Santa Rosa, and H-E-B. “Keep in mind that not all of those locations will have vaccines available at any given time, so make sure to keep checking back with those facilities to find out if they have available appointments,” said Cruz. The South Texas Veterans Health Care System is also offering vaccines, but only to enrolled veterans. The San Antonio Express News has contact information for all of those facilities in an article posted here. 

The vaccine is free of charge to all individuals, and you don’t need to show any proof that you do have a pre-existing condition. Health officials are also asking anyone who has already contracted the virus in the previous 90 days to wait to get a vaccine since they are still immune, and others have a higher likelihood of catching the virus. 

CVS, Walgreens and H-E-B are all aligned with the federal allocation plan AND the state allocation plan. These pharmacies received vaccines under both the federal and the state allocation plans.

Pride PHC Services is a Texas Provider, and our employees can get vaccinations at these pharmacies under the state allocation plan. It’s important that you specify that information in the event these pharmacies inform you that they cannot provide the vaccine to you.

IMPORTANT: If a pharmacy tells you that you are not included in group 1 A, per DSHS, we recommend that you provide the DSHS – COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Phase 1A Definition document to the vaccinating pharmacy.  This document  (click to view) clearly defines home care workers as being in group 1A of the state allocation plan.  If the pharmacy continues to turn you away, please inform the main office @ info@pridephc.com.

It is a good idea for you to take this information with you to the pharmacy, along with your identification, insurance (if you are insured), a pay stub, and your social security card, or other proof of citizenship.

“So, take care of yourself and those you are caring for by taking that life-saving step of getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Together, we can flatten that curve and get to the end of this pandemic,” said Cruz.

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