Volunteers needed: New mass vaccination site opens at Galleria Mall in Rock Hill

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Another mass vaccination site has opened in our area, this one in York County at the Galleria Mall in Rock Hill.

“That’s our job for the next several months, is to put shots in arms,” said Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys.

The community vaccine clinic is located in the space formerly occupied by Home South and Goody’s inside the mall. Gov. Henry McMaster toured the site on Friday, as hundreds of people got the first dose of the shot.

Most of the people Channel 9′s Greg Suskin spoke to were in and out in under an hour. Some said they thought the clinic was well organized, especially for its first day.

Piedmont Medical Center is a partner in the initiative, and health officials hope to be able to vaccinate between 500 to 1,000 people a day at the vaccination site.

“We’re just very excited about the good things that are going to happen right behind us,” said Piedmont Medical Center CEO Mark Nosacka.

Operating hours will be Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. by appointment only starting Jan. 22.

Some people were showing up on Friday that have appointments that don’t happen for weeks, and others that don’t have an appointment at all.

“We’ll be getting more, but in the meantime people have to continue to be careful. We don’t have enough to go around for everyone who wants a shot right now,” McMaster said.

South Carolina resident Randy Labarge showed up without an appointment and said he’s struggled to find a place to get the vaccine.

“It’s been going on for about a month now. Cannot find anything, anywhere to go,” he said.

McMaster said that should get better. As of Friday afternoon, SCDHEC’s vaccination map showed seven places now taking appointments in York County, and that changes daily.

City leaders are also hearing complaints from people not sure how to schedule appointments.

“The response I get is, I’ve been calling that number for days and I can’t get through, or nobody will respond to my e-mails,” a resident said.

Officials said as there’s more vaccine, and more places to offer it, wait times will improve. On Friday, about 200 people had appointments, and they were given a date to come back for the second dose so they don’t have to sign up all over again.

For some, the process was easy.

“We were supposed to drive to Spartanburg on Monday for the appointment, so the fact that this opened up, allowed us to come here. Which is awesome,” a South Carolina resident said.

Appointments are required and will follow the guidelines for phased eligibility outlined by the SCDHEC, with availability dependent upon the number of doses received each week from the state.

Those who are eligible can submit a Piedmont Medical Center vaccine request form (link available here) to be ready to schedule an appointment when available.

Email addresses are required for registration and appointments for second doses will be made at the time the first shot is given.

Appointments will be filled weekly based on the number of vaccine doses the clinic expects to receive. When no additional appointments are available, patients will be instructed to check back online to schedule appointments as they become available.

The mall was chosen because health leaders said they needed a big, vacant, indoor site for large-scale vaccinations.

However, officials are concerned about reaching people who don’t have Internet access.

“Getting the underserved community access to an e-mail address, just so they can merely sign up, to have the vaccine,” said councilwoman Nikita Jackson.

Officials will be looking for dozens of volunteers to run the site -- both medical and non-medical.

Volunteer shifts are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, with lunch provided.

For information about phased eligibility and links to sign up to volunteer and request access to the vaccine registration portal, click here.