‘Your state needs you’: DHEC calls on healthcare workers to help vaccinate

150 positions needed for administering vaccines in S.C.

YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - South Carolina’s state health agency, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, is putting out an all call to anyone who can help vaccinate people.

It says it needs to fill 150 positions for vaccinating efforts calling the situation dire.

Trying to fill these positions are aimed to help people like Tamara Hahn. She seems like a great candidate to get the COVID-19 vaccine early. She has diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. The hang up is she is only 62.

”There was a promise from this administration that people with comorbidities and who are seniors would be at the front of the line and now they can’t even tell me when,” says Hahn.

Hahn is in Phase 1C—projected for early spring. DHEC is attempting to speed up the process by hiring more people to help vaccinate.

“Your state urgently needs you” was the beginning of DHEC’s call for the healthcare workers who can help. Nurses, paramedics and pharmacist can answer DHEC’s call. The agency is looking for anyone who is qualified to apply to the open positions. The positions are not just to tackle vaccines. Widespread testing is still underway as well.

DHEC’s senior public health deputy calls it a “crucial time for the state.” In the last week and a half, the agency has expanded phase 1A to include some patients in the hospital and any south Carolinians aged 70 and older.

DHEC interim public health director says the hands on deck effort has already been slowed by packed hospitals and limited vaccines.

”I’ve been scared every single day knowing that my chances of not surviving are much much higher than most people’s,” says Hahn. ”I think there should have been a coordinated effort from the very beginning. Even before the vaccines hit the shore.”>

It might be later than Hahn wanted, but Wanda Long feels nurses like her have been ready to answer the call.

”We have been stretched as far as we can be stretched,” says Long. But we can be stretched just a little bit further to help get this vaccination to the general public because it is so important.”

Long is a Director of Resident Care at Morningside in Rock Hill. She knows the vaccine is the best way for her residents to come out of the isolation they have been experiencing since March. She says the assisted living facility was lucky to not have any COVID-19 cases. Still, they continue to be safe.

She says she and others are willing to keep stretching herself to vaccinated as many people as needed.

”We put in a lot of hours in a week’s time but my weekends are my weekends and that would be my time that I could give a day to go in and vaccinate,” says Long.

DHEC says the process will be streamlined so it could fill all 150 positions. The agency says positions will be filled within days or weeks instead of months.

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