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Tidelands takes Pfizer to high schools, hopes to vaccinate 12-year-olds

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 5:29 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Tidelands Health has begun a series of vaccination clinics hosted by Georgetown County schools in hopes of getting more young people inoculated before schools are out for the summer. Last week, Pfizer was given federal authorization to start administering its vaccine to children ages 12 and up.

The first clinic took place on Thursday at Carvers Bay High School.

Chief Operating Officer of Tidelands Health Gayle Resetar says they were anticipating at least 100 students but were prepared to handle anyone who showed up.

“It requires a lot of collaboration with the schools,” Resetar said. “Certainly, the schools, the coaches, the athletic directors all are embracing the idea of making vaccines available at these high school locations where we already have a great target audience of teenagers.”

She says the clinics had been scheduled for weeks before the age for Pfizer vaccinations had been dropped down to 12, but once that announcement was made they scrambled to make accommodations to expand the clinics to make them available to anyone who wanted a shot.

The clinics were originally aimed at getting student athletes vaccinated, which is one of the ways Resetar says other students will be convinced to get the shots.

“Athletes in our mind are a great population of folks to get the vaccine. I think you’re seeing parents and coaches wanting to get their student athletes vaccinated so they don’t miss out on games,” Resetar said. “We really hope that student athletes will really embrace this and then they can be influencers to other kids.”

Despite the federal government opening Pfizer vaccinations to kids between the ages of 12 and 15 just last week, already the youngest group of people have received more vaccinations than the next youngest group. DHEC data shows 51,580 people between the ages of 12 and 19 have received shots, while just 13,728 between the ages of 20 and 24 have had doses administered. Resetar says that may just be a case of parents having more control over their children’s schedules in the younger age group.

“I don’t know that you can draw the conclusion that there is more hesitancy. What I am thinking is that there is a little less urgency,” Resetar said. “There are parents right now getting their kids in that lower age group vaccinated for things that are coming up, like summer camps. As we go into the fall, we expect the 20-24 group number to grow as college campus change their guidance. I think those numbers will go up.”

Georgetown County has one of the highest rates of completed vaccinations, second only to Charleston County. Resetar says the key to their success is bringing the vaccine to the people where they are and working with influential groups to promote the shots.

To be vaccinated, Georgetown County School District students must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. A completed consent form also is required for anyone under 16, but an appointment is not needed. The pop-up clinics will he held:

  • Thursday, May 27, 4-6 p.m., Andrews High School, 12890 County Line Road, Andrews
  • Thursday, June 3, 4-6 p.m., Georgetown High School, 2500 Anthuan Maybank Drive, Georgetown
  • Thursday, June 10, 4-6 p.m., Waccamaw High School, 2412 Kings River Road, Pawleys Island

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