CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Vaccinating 5 million South Carolinians is not getting any easier especially with the federal government only expected to fill a quarter of the amount of first doses requested by health care providers.
Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC’s interim public health director, says they are doing everything they can to get more of the vaccines.
“DHEC continues to request the most doses possible each week from the federal government,” Traxler said. “Currently, 100 percent of COVID 19 vaccines available in our state have either been given or are scheduled to be given.”
Traxler says she expects the current allocation of vaccines to stay where it is until at least the end of January. Meanwhile, several health care facilities were banking on vaccine distribution to increase which has put a kink in their ability to schedule new appointments.
“We are aware that some vaccine providers are having to reschedule or push back appointments due to the limited supply of vaccine,” Traxler said. “A vaccine provider should contact a person directly if they need to reschedule their appointment.”
More locations are opening up for appointments this week for the 70-year-old plus crowd, but some facilities, like Trident Health, have not finished vaccinating the people in the first group. That means they are still focused on getting their health care employees inoculated before they can move on to those 70 and older.
Meanwhile, those waiting in the wings are told to continue with social distancing guidelines. John Brabham is getting his first shot on Wednesday, but thinks the pandemic would not be as bad if everyone got serious about beating it.
“If we would all sit down and take this seriously for 100 days, I think this problem could go away but you walk through stores all the time and you see these people walking around without masks and it’s just defiance,” Brabham said. “That’s all it is.”
Traxler says it is not going to get any easier for a while.
“I wish that there was a lot more vaccine a lot faster. I wish we had a dose right now for every single South Carolinian who wanted one but the reality is, right now we are only getting the same amount we have been getting weekly since vaccine rollout began,” Traxler said.