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Vaccine providers seek to bring doses to where people are

Getting your COVID-19 vaccine should be convenient — from drive-thru vaccinations and vaccines at the grocery store to getting a shot while getting a check-up, vaccine providers are looking to make vaccinations as easy as possible.

Self Regional Medical Center is now offering walk-up and drive-thru vaccinations. Instead of making an appointment for a shot at the hospital’s Support Services Center, vaccinations are available appointment free on weekdays at 303 W. Alexander Ave.

This walk-up clinic runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, providing COVID-19 testing and vaccines.

“We’re trying to increase the convenience,” said Dr. Matt Logan, Self’s chief medical officer. “No appointment is required, so people can just come by and get vaccinated.”

People who seek a vaccine can still make an appointment by calling 864-725-8200 if they prefer.

Logan said Self is waiting on the federal decision whether to expand use of the Pfizer vaccine to children age 12 and older. The hospital might extend the drive-thru clinic’s evening hours in that case.

“No that this is expanding, we have reached out to the school district as well,” Logan said.

Self hosted two vaccine clinics last week at Greenwood’s high schools, and he said when students return from summer break, health officials are looking to partner with schools to provide vaccines. They’re also looking to partner with pediatrics offices.

Other health leaders in the area are looking for partnerships and programs that make getting vaccinated easier for anyone who wants it. During a meeting of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Upstate Community Assessment Review and Equity panel, Carolina Health Centers CEO and President Sue Veer said her organization started offering vaccines on demand for any patient who comes in for an appointment. It is also working on a plan to provide vaccines during the South Carolina Festival of Discovery.

Since mid-March, the Abbeville Area Medical Center has been hosting on-site vaccination clinics for businesses and industries in their coverage area, and Self Regional has done the same for Lakelands industries. Both hospitals have been providing vaccines for homebound patients, and AAMC has hosted clinics at the Abbeville Housing Authority, the county library and area churches.

AAMC’s Dr. Trey Moore, a member of the Upstate CARE panel, said the hospital has even set up a table outside of Ingles at 1507 N. Main St., Abbeville, where they’ve administered 30 first doses. Hospital staff is there each Monday in May from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We’re making it a concerted effort to let people know in the community we’re willing to come out to them for vaccinations,” he said. “From an organizational standpoint, it’s good exposure.”

AAMC is also working to go on-site to Abbeville and McCormick schools once the Pfizer vaccine is approved for use on children age 12 and older.

“It has been very rewarding to provide the vaccine to those who have told us they have transportation issues and if it weren’t for our clinics they would not have had this very important opportunity to receive it,” said Community Health and Wellness Director Amanda Morgan. “We have also been able to have discussions about the vaccine with those who had questions or wanted more information.”

Veer and Moore talked during the CARE panel’s meeting about vaccine hesitancy among their staffs. Moore said he’s planning to meet one-on-one with the about 20% of AAMC’s staff who have chosen not to get vaccinated to make the case for why they should. It seemed to him that most of those resistant to getting vaccinated were nurses, and Veer said she’d noticed frontline staff at CHC accounted for most of their holdouts as well.

Vaccines have proven effective. Logan said since Self started administering shots, the hospital has given out 53,391 vaccines, with 25,596 people fully vaccinated. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines boast an efficacy rate of about 95%.

Since January, 431 people have been admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, with six patients admitted with COVID-19 after being vaccinated. Breakout cases like these are to be expected, and health officials have said most of the vaccinated people who have still contracted COVID-19 have had milder symptoms than those who were not vaccinated.

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.

COVID-19

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

It’s not easy to pinpoint why COVID-19 case numbers are climbing again in South Carolina, but state health officials are pushing efforts to influence those who are unvaccinated to get their shots.

Since access isn’t the problem anymore, state health officials are instead focused on convincing people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said.

Greenwood County School District 50’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to remove certain pandemic-related policies at its special called meeting Thursday.

Getting your COVID-19 vaccine should be convenient — from drive-thru vaccinations and vaccines at the grocery store to getting a shot while getting a check-up, vaccine providers are looking to make vaccinations as easy as possible.

Soon children age 12 and older might be able to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and state health officials said they've been getting ready for this development.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the Lakelands and the country respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has led to state and national emergency declarations, it is vital for everyone to have up-to-date information about the virus and its spread. As such, we're providing free access to all of our COVID-19 coverage, which is available on this page.

Here's the latest information on COVID-19 from health agencies and hospitals: