More than one-thousand veterans vaccinated at Colonial Life Arena Monday

COLUMBIA (WOLO): Colonial Life Arena transformed Monday to host and vaccinate more than one-thousand local veterans, thanks to a partnership between the Columbia VA Health Care System and the University of South Carolina. Those aged 65 and older could make an appointment with one simple phone call.

Attitudes of gratitude filled Colonial Life Arena- veterans thankful to the Columbia VA and University of South Carolina for a quick and easy vaccination process. “I’ve spent 27 years in the army, and this is the fastest I’ve ever seen something done in those 27 years,” said Army veteran Leonard Sherwood, “you come in, you get your papers, you go down yonder, they help you fill out the papers, then they’ll give you the shot, couldn’t be any easier.”

Army veteran Wayne Mitchell described his experience getting his vaccine Monday, “it took me 2 and a half minutes to get registered, signed up, and here I am today. Shuttle buses in the parking lot and everything; you couldn’t ask for anything better.”

More than 6,800 veterans in the VA’s care have been vaccinated and at least 1,100 received their Moderna vaccine at this event alone. 

Columbia VA Health Care System CEO, David Omura, says “we typically only receive 1,000 to 1,100 vaccines a week. This past week we were told we would receive 3,500 vaccines, but only if we could use them in a week.” He says within an hour, a team pulled together to pull off the mass event, but it wasn’t anything they couldn’t do. 

“We’re used to moving people in and out, bringing a lot of people in in a short period of time, getting people in, parked, and back out,” explained Sid Kenyon, General Manager of Colonial Life Arena, UofSC. “Of course, they’re great at doing the health care thing, so it’s been a good partnership for both of us.”

After receiving his shot, Marine veteran Herb Braxton is now returning the thank you, with a salute of his own to our health care heroes. “All the medical professionals out here, my hats off to them. I salute them. they doing what they need to do to protect us all, not some, but all,” said Braxton. 

Officials are planning to have another mass vaccination event at Colonial Life Arena in 28 days. Until then, the Columbia VA is continuing to see veterans 65 and older Monday through Saturday on their main campus. 

You can call their vaccine hotline at 803-776-4000 to schedule an appointment.

Categories: Local News