Beaufort Memorial Hospital canceling COVID-19 vaccine appointments due to decrease in expected shipment

Beaufort Memorial Hospital canceling COVID-19 vaccine appointments due to decrease in expected shipment
FILE PHOTO (Source: Courtesy of Augusta Health)

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Beaufort Memorial Hospital is canceling COVID-19 vaccination appointments after the hospital says it was informed it would not receive the expected dosage shipments in the coming weeks.

According to information posted to the hospital’s website, officials were told that they “would not receive the more than 2,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine expected for delivery early next week, nor near equal distributions in the weeks coming.”

Due to this change in shipment expectations, the hospital is canceling 6,000 scheduled appointments through March 30 and an additional 6,000 appointment requests will remain unscheduled.

According to the hospital, three orders were made asking for a total of 2,00 doses to fulfill appointments. The hospital states it was told it would receive just 450 doses next week.

“We understand that the national vaccine supply is somewhat limited; however, the fact that we placed these orders over a week ago and were just notified by the state that they cannot be fulfilled is disappointing,” said Beaufort Memorial President and CEO Russell Baxley in a news release on the hospital’s website. “South Carolina hospitals have been working very hard to follow the state’s guidance to serve the best interests of our communities, but we cannot do it without consistent and reliable supplies.”

The hosptial says all second-dose vaccination appointments will be honored. Anyone who has not received their first dose will be contacted by the hospital to reschedule their canceled appointments.

But the hospital says even though the appointment is canceled that doesn’t mean those who signed up are out of luck. They say as they receive doses, they will call people, in that same order, and reschedule them.

“As first dose vaccines become available, we will call everyone back in the order in which they were scheduled. And so, you don’t lose your place in line and we will get you here as quickly as possible. We have a team of people ready to make those calls and get everyone scheduled as quickly as possible even if we have to work into the night and into the weekends. As we get those vaccines, we will get shots in arms,” Beaufort Memorial CEO Russel Baxley said.

The hospital recommends in the meantime if you live with someone who is immunocompromised or are at risk you look to other facilities for vaccination options. Certain pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and other hospitals should be able to accommodate more people if they are able to get an appointment.

The hospital’s Vaccine Call Center was closed until further notice as of 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15.

The South Carolina Hospital Authority issued the following message to hospitals across South Carolina on Friday, Jan. 15:

“This morning we were advised by DHEC that hospitals will receive significantly less vaccine next week than they requested. The state expects to receive the same amount of Pfizer vaccine next week that we have been getting, but hospital requests this week totaled four times that amount. Hospitals will receive 100% of the second doses they requested, but only 20-25% of the first doses they specified.”

South Carolina’s hospitals are aggressively ramping up vaccination efforts through walk-in events, online appointments, and mass vaccination sites. Unfortunately, we have learned that next week, we will only receive a quarter of the initial doses that we requested from DHEC. We will continue to do everything in our power to accelerate the distribution of these vaccines as part of the state’s vaccination plan. We need more vaccines from Washington in order to get the job done.”

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