‘My feeling is relief’: Tidelands Health begins giving those 70 and older second doses of COVID-19 vaccine

‘My feeling is relief’: Tidelands Health begins giving those 70 and older second doses of COVID-19 vaccine
Thomas Leonard received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week at a Tidelands Health vaccination site. (Source: Tidelands Health)

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) – Weeks after receiving their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, those aged 70 and older are returning to Tidelands Health for that necessary second shot.

Thomas Leonard was one such individual to get his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine this week, according to Tidelands Health staff.

The Murrells Inlet resident got his second shot Tuesday at a Tidelands Health regional vaccination site, a press release stated.

“My feeling is relief,” said Leonard, who jokingly asked for a Bloody Mary instead of the water available in the 15-minute observation area after receiving his second dose, according to hospital staff. “The end of the tunnel is coming around. We see probably this summer we will be getting back to normal.”

Leonard’s wife, Charlene, also got her second dose on Tuesday. According to Tidelands Health, they were among the first seniors 70 and older to receive their initial vaccine dose from the health agency three weeks ago. The Leonards returned for that follow-up shot for full protection, which kicks in about a week to 14 days after it’s given, staff said.

To date, Tidelands Health has administered more than 16,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including nearly 10,000 doses to people 70 and older, the press release stated. When individuals are scheduled for their first dose, a second-dose appointment is scheduled three weeks later.

Second doses are shipped separately from first doses, and government officials have assured health care providers they will continue to receive an adequate number of second doses to fully vaccinate those who have received their first dose, Tidelands Health staff said.

“We want to assure patients who are scheduled for their first and second doses at Tidelands Health that we are doing everything in our power every single week to secure vaccine doses for our community,” Gayle Resetar, chief operating officer for Tidelands Health, said.

The limited vaccine supply being provided to Tidelands Health – and vaccine providers across the country -- is affecting the pace of distribution of first doses, according to the press release. Another 20,000 individuals ages 70 and older remain on a wait list to receive their first and second doses of the vaccine from Tidelands Health, and those ages 65 to 69 - who became eligible to receive the vaccine Feb. 8 - are completing a form to be notified when the health system will again accept vaccine requests.

That timing will depend on the vaccine supply the health system receives from the government, Tidelands Health staff said.

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