‘They’re frustrated and overwhelmed’: Rock Hill church helps seniors get vaccine appointments

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The journey for Cliff and Brenda Wilson to get a COVID-19 vaccination was unnecessarily stressful.

The couple from York are in their mid-70s, and they tried for weeks to get the vaccine.

[Race to Vaccinate: What to know about the COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina]

“We’ve been to five different ones that said, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna do it,’ and then you get there, and they say, ‘Oh no, we can’t do it.’” Brenda Wilson said.

The couple faced problems because they don’t use email and don’t have a computer at their home, which is necessary to sign up for an appointment to get vaccinated.

“I told them we didn’t have a computer and if we did, we didn’t know how to use it,” Cliff Wilson said with a chuckle.

They finally heard what St. John’s United Methodist Church in Rock Hill was doing.

The church has set up laptops, tables and chairs and is walking seniors, like the Wilsons, through the vaccine sign-up process.

Volunteers will spend about 15 to 20 minutes to sign up a senior for the shot and create an email account for them.

The church was inspired by the dozens of dedicated volunteers at the community vaccine clinic in the mall.

Sarah Crockford launched the effort at St. John’s United Methodist Church.

“We saw all the work that the city was doing, and we were really excited about that,” she said. “And so, we just got in touch with them to see how we could help.”

>> Remember, you can watch our radar/newscasts anytime at home on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV

The city was begging for help to get seniors 65 and over signed up to get vaccinated.

Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys reached out to the faith community, but St. Johns had already contacted the city beforehand.

Crockford said when seniors come into the church for help, they’re weary of the whole process.

“Most of them are just frustrated and overwhelmed. They don’t have questions. They just want you to fix it,” she said.

That’s what the church stepped up to do for dozens of people. The city of Rock Hill also has an overwhelming job, which is to run the vaccine clinic that has given more than 10,000 shots. They see about 600 people a day.

Volunteers have been busy giving shots and doing all the work needed to keep the clinic running smoothly.

City spokeswoman Katie Quinn said they don’t have time to walk people through the sign-up process if they don’t already have an appointment.

“Any help that we can get, and our community can get to help with this process, because we can’t do that at the clinic. (It) would be fantastic,” Quinn said.

As a result of the help, the Wilson’s will get their first shots Thursday.

“It was great. It was great,” Brenda Wilson said.

St. John’s United Methodist Church will help seniors in phase 1A make appointments for the vaccine from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You don’t have to call ahead. You can show up at the church at 321 S. Oakland Ave. in downtown Rock Hill during those times.