Rock Hill clinic pushes up vaccine timeline to make sure extra doses don’t go to waste

ROCK HILL, S.C. — South Carolina won’t start vaccinating those 65 and older until Monday, but a Rock Hill clinic is starting things early because more than 900 doses are about to go bad.

The vaccine clinic at Galleria Mall has given more than 7,500 shots in seven days, focusing on those 70 and older. The clinic is doing so well that it often gets extra doses from other places and that’s led to 936 extra doses.

Due to issues registering online in the complex federal system called VAMS, not enough people in the current age group were showing up and the extra doses were set to expire over the weekend. So the clinic, changed course.

The city of Rock Hill pushed up the timeline allowing those 65 and over to get the vaccine at the clinic on Thursday instead of Monday.

The clinic has also reached out to the school district to give teachers 55 years old and older the opportunity to get the shot if they have already signed up through the VAMS system.

“We were sent an email this morning, and my assistant principal came in and told me to leave and come out here,” teacher Claudia McDaniel said.

Technically, the event was outside of what is supposed to happen, but it was either allow people to get the shot early or throw away hundreds of doses.

“At the end of the day we’re not gonna put any vaccine down the drain,” said Rick Lee with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Lee said following state guidelines is important but not wasting vaccine had to come first.

“They’ve called us several times now, and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got vaccine that other places have turned down, it’s already been taken out of the deep freeze, can you use it?’” Assistant City Manager Jimmy Bagley said.

Channel 9 asked why other places have turned down the vaccine doses and Bagley said it’s because they can’t use them fast enough.

The clinic said it had filled all 936 slots within a few hours by opening up to those over 65 and teachers over 55.