CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina has opened its vaccine eligibility to anyone age 16-and-older and hospitals are ramping up efforts to accommodate the influx of people making appointments.
Governor Henry McMaster announced Friday that the state would be skipping the rest of the phased approach for vaccines and opening vaccinations to anyone who the makers say is eligible.
Teens 16 and 17 years old have been approved for the Pfizer vaccine, while Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine are for patients 18 and older.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare and the Medical University of South Carolina both say DHEC has increased the number of vaccines that they’re now getting.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Oliverio says there is a pent up demand for the vaccine.
“A lot of people have had issues in the past about getting appointments and I think that’s going to get better over the next couple of weeks,” Oliverio said. “I think we’re going to see a lot more vaccines coming to South Carolina, the local institutions, to give out.”
Roper St. Francis says they plan to administer 1,400 vaccinations per day at their Vaccination Drive-Thru held in the North Charleston Coliseum Parking Garage.
Roper says they have first dose appointments scheduled through early May and second dose appointments through early June. However, they do say they have intermittent availability for appointments before those dates.
“As soon as you release that and say here’s the vaccine people are going to be scrambling to get it, “ Oliverio said. “So here’s what I would recommend. Number one be patient; number two be persistent.”
MUSC says just this week, they received 24,000 Pfizer vaccinations.
They have a daily clinic at the old DMV on Lockwood Drive open Monday through Saturday. They also plan to open a larger clinic at the old Verizon Call Center on Monday.
MUSC is only scheduling two weeks out at a time which they say is to match appointments with the number of vaccine supply received on a weekly basis.
For both MUSC and Roper’s clinics, you must have an appointment before coming.
Roper asks its patients to call their Roper St. Francis Physician Partners doctor’s office to make an appointment.
Those without a Roper St. Francis Physician Partners doctor can call 843-727-DOCS or email email@example.com to schedule a vaccination appointment.