Lowcountry hospitals face vaccine supply issues as SC moves to new vaccination phase

Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 7:01 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said people in Phase 1B in the state can begin making COVID-19 vaccine appointments on Monday.

This phase includes people who are 55 or older, frontline essential workers, people with underlying health conditions among others. State leaders say about 2.7 million people in South Carolina are eligible under this phase.

Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Director said they are expecting to receive doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine in addition the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The Medical University of South Carolina says it is not scheduling new first dose appointments for anyone due to “extremely low vaccine supply.”

MUSC Health officials said they will schedule and vaccinate all eligible patients per DHEC guidelines as vaccine supply allows.

The director of DHEC said vaccination clinics will rely on the honor system when it comes to vaccinations of those in Phase 1B. However, MUSC officials say they have the authority to ask for proof that people meet the phase criteria.

MUSC officials say similar to 1A, they will ask for proof of employment for employment-related eligibility, drivers license or other ID for age-related eligibility and attestation signage for other conditions.

MUSC said the only bottleneck is vaccine supply. They stand ready to mass vaccinate based on supply.

Roper Saint Francis Healthcare officials say they are not receiving enough vaccine to meet the demand of Phase 1A patients who currently are eligible to be vaccinated. As of Tuesday afternoon, they don’t know if they will be receiving additional vaccine to accommodate the 1B expansion.

Roper says they have roughly 4,300 patients on a waiting list to be scheduled for first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Their first dose appointments are booked out until April 15.

Patients who are in the Phase 1B category of eligibility for vaccination also will be placed on this waiting list until Roper receives more COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who would like to be placed on a waiting list can call (843) 727-DOCS.

Roper said their allotment of first doses this week is about half of what they requested, however they continue to ensure those who receive a first dose also are scheduled for and receive a second dose.

Since they opened their COVID-19 vaccination drive-thru at the North Charleston Coliseum on Jan. 20, their staff and volunteers have delivered more than 40,000 doses of vaccine to those in phase 1A.

Trident Medical Center is currently vaccinating healthcare workers and first responders through a walk-in format. Hospital officials say they have not a public vaccination site.

DHEC has a vaccine site locator where you can find where appointments are being offered near your location.

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