Hanahan prepared to administer COVID-19 vaccine as officials wait for supply

Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 3:26 PM EST
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HANAHAN, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Hanahan has the capabilities and storage to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, but city leaders are waiting for the supply.

Hanahan Mayor Christie Rainwater says the city can store the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines and they have a team ready to administer them. However, they have not been provided any doses.

“The truth is, hospitals are not in every city or in every county,” Rainwater said. “So the easier we can make it for availability to every resident to get vaccinated, if they choose to do so, the better we’re going to be.”

City officials said they purchased special ultra-cold storage and have a refrigeration needed to properly store the vaccines.

Rainwater said statehouse representatives are working to get doses to the city as quickly as possible.

City of Hanahan officials said their firefighters and EMS workers will be working overtime, with pay, to administer the vaccines as soon as the city receives the doses.

“They are working their regular shift, but what they’re doing is taking an overtime shift to get these shots in arms,” Rainwater said. “I think it’s amazing that they’re just going above and beyond dedicating that extra time that they could have in their own personal life to give back to the community in that way.”

They’re estimated to be able to administer 60 coronavirus vaccines per hour. The vaccinations will take place in the city gym next door to city hall where social distancing can take place inside.

“We have a lot of vaccines available right now, the state has done a great job,” Rainwater said. “We’re in the top 5% of the nation to get these vaccines from our freezer in arms, but there is room to do better.”

Hanahan’s Deputy Fire Chief Michael Bargeron said they’re ready to help. He’s also part of the federal disaster medical assistance team and has traveled the country working with patients in ICUs among other things to assist during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bargeron says the Hanahan’s fire and EMS took a state mandated course for administering the coronavirus vaccines.

“We’re an untapped resource that is there that can get it out faster because we do have the staff that is trained...” Bargeron said. “While it’s not conventional it’s like I said a force multiplier because you’ve got the hospitals that can do it you’ve got pharmacies that can do it. You’ve got fire and EMS agencies that are trained, but they don’t necessarily do it but if they step up into the role, they can roll the vaccine out faster.”

The city has also been performing coronavirus testing throughout the pandemic and they will continue those efforts.

“We have residents reach out all the time, I’ll say one of the most touching ones was a daughter reaching out for her parents who were 90 and 91,” Rainwater said. “She shared that they’re not in a long-term care facility, they’re home, but they needed [the vaccine] just as much as those that are in care facilities.”

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