Prisma Health celebrates 100k COVID-19 vaccinations

COLUMBIA (WOLO): State health officials Monday say South Carolina will see a much needed increase in its weekly shipment for first vaccine doses from the federal government beginning this week, and that’s not the only thing South Carolinians have to cheer about. 

100 thousand. It may not seem like a huge number, but after a slow start in the vaccine roll out in our state, this is absolutely welcome news for South Carolinians. Prisma health administered their 100 thousandth COVID-19 vaccination this morning. Governor McMaster, health officials, and the lucky vaccine recipient were all on site at Gamecock Park with an encouraging update.

Another milestone in the fight against COVID-19, but this time, it’s a milestone to celebrate. Prisma Health President & CEO Mark O’Halla says, “we are about to administer our 100 thousandth dose of vaccine.”

That vaccination now in the arm of 71 year old Barry Gray, and Governor McMaster says more vaccines are on the way. “The production by Pfizer and Moderna have increased 16% over what was coming before. So we’re getting about 19,000 more doses a week this week than we got the week before, said Governor McMaster.” 

Community immunity is the goal. Next on the Governor’s to-do list: getting pharmacies up to speed on vaccination distribution. He says about 600 pharmacies in the state are authorized in the vaccine program, but only about 300 are actually giving vaccinations. “The numbers show they’re not giving them fast enough, so we want to be sure that they have what they need, that they understand the program, that they understand the urgency, and we’ll do whatever it takes to see that those shots are given at those pharmacies.”  

Meanwhile, five mobile vaccination vans are in the works to serve more rural areas by the spring.  The first could be on the road by the end of the week. Prisma Health continues to allow walk-ins as supply lasts. Co-Chair of Prisma Health Vaccination Task Force, Dr. Saria Saccocio says, “we ask that people remain patient. We are passionate about getting the shot in the arms of everyone who wants one and everyone who needs one, and in order to do so, we will vaccinate as soon as that supply is ready and able.”

The Governor is also encouraging the community to get involved in the vaccination process. He’s encouraging any retired physicians, nurses, or medical students to volunteer to give vaccinations. You can volunteer through the DHEC website, but he says it’s not necessary; you can just go straight to these hospitals or other vaccination sites to help.

 

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