ROCK HILL, S.C. — South Carolina is getting ready for a flood of requests for COVID-19 vaccine appointments, as 2.7 million people will be eligible for the shot on Monday. That’s more than half the state’s 5.1 million residents.
The state moves into Phase 1B next week, which is for people 55 and older, frontline essential workers and anyone at high risk of getting COVID-19.
The Rock Hill community clinic administered about 1,100 shots on Thursday, but more than half of those people were teachers and school staff who had a chance to get the vaccine early because appointments for Phase 1A have slowed down.
“We received an email yesterday that there were extra vaccines and here’s our appointment date, and here we are,” said Ashley Hall, a teacher at Finley Road Elementary.
The clinic, which has now vaccinated more than 15,000 people, is seeing exactly what they expected, Phase 1A slowing down. Channel 9′s Greg Suskin met some seniors who waited because they were unsure if the shot was safe.
“I thought maybe the vaccine was rushed and didn’t have enough testing time, but after a while, I didn’t feel that way,” said one South Carolina resident.
Ninety volunteers were working at the clinic on Thursday, and they’ve added extra stations to serve people faster. The clinic is now getting 3,000 doses a week and expects to see that number climb. That’s one reason they’re asking for more medical volunteers trained to give the shots.
Once Phase 1B is underway, the clinic may add more hours, instead of more days.
“The days that we aren’t at the clinic are a much-needed break, quite honestly, for us,” said another South Carolina resident.
Ahead of the rush in the next phase, the Rock Hill clinic will start allowing people to make an appointment up to a week ahead, instead of only a day.
“I feel blessed. I feel like I could run through the neighborhood without my mask on,” said Denise McDaniel, who is just happy she’s done.
The clinic also said it is staying with the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, rather than the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That’s both to avoid confusion and because Pfizer is the vaccine supplier for Piedmont Medical Center, which is a partner of the clinic.