Frustrations, confusion for families persist in seeking the coronavirus vaccine

VIDEO: The search for COVID vaccine appointments

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Families in more rural areas say trying to get vaccine appointments for loved ones has become a daily challenge.

Kathy Ford said it took weeks to find an appointment for the first dose herself and her husband.

“Daily we’re looking and now I was able to obtain a vaccine appointment for my husband and I,” Ford said. “But that was only through word-of-mouth from a family member who happens to know somebody else who happened to say call DHEC.”

Ford says she is still looking for a second dose of the vaccine for her sister with a disability. She says an emergency doctor at Tidelands Health set up an appointment for this past Thursday, but when she arrived, there was no appointment on the books.

“She went down there only for them to say we’re only giving it to age 70 and above so she called me very upset and emotional, and they didn’t give it to her,” Ford said. “She’s due for her second vaccine and we just can’t get it.”

The hospital’s vaccine clinic is appointment only.

Tidelands spokesperson Dawn Bryant said they did not have an appointment record for Ford’s sister.

“At this time, we are only scheduling vaccine appointments for those on our waitlist, which includes approximately 15,000 people,” Bryant said. “Vaccine appointments are scheduled by telephone call to those on the waitlist, in the order requests were received.”

Ford says she wants to see more communication from health providers across the state to help people find appointments that may not be as well versed on the computer.

“Well, if you say you have it and there’s appointments that you can schedule, have somebody communicating when’s the best time to call or reach out to those that have been looking,” Ford said. We go to this high point of saying yes we accomplished something, to boom, the communication between either the facilities are the vaccinator and then you go boom and you fall on your face and start all over again climbing this ladder to get to nowhere.”

Patricia Davis said she checked online at every drug store and vaccine provider she knew for days before deciding to drive 45 miles outside Georgetown county to get her first COVID-19 vaccine.

“Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Publix, Tideland’s health,” Davis said. “When you go to the sites where the vaccines are supposed to be available, you found yourself at a roadblock.”

Ford says with recent cancellations and postponements of vaccine clinics statewide, she is holding onto faith that she can finally have her long-awaited appointment next week.

“I am sure that this has got to be happening to other people which is causing another level of frustration,” Ford said.

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