Vaccine clinics urging 65 and older group to book appointments before Phase 1B

S.C. clinics struggle to vaccinate those 65 and older

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) -South Carolina vaccinations are expected to ramp up starting next week.

Governor Henry McMaster announced the state would advance into Phase 1B. It is a huge group of about 2.7 million people.

It includes anyone 55 and older. People 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions will also be in line. It also extends to frontline essential workers -- like law enforcement, teachers, school staff and grocery store workers.

Meanwhile, South Carolina remains in Phase 1A. It began with frontline healthcare workers, followed by anyone 65 and older, regardless of health conditions. In South Carolina, 24-percent of people in Phase 1A are vaccinated. That is mostly people 65 and older.

This is a critical group feared to be most at risk from dying from COVID-19, but South Carolina has a problem. Not enough people 65 and older are showing up at clinics to get their shots. That leaves many high-risk people still vulnerable to get very sick.

There are three factors—lack of transportation, hesitancy to cancel appointments and issues making one. The biggest one is that hesitancy, but clinics and pharmacies want to assure older adults—if a person gets an earlier appointment, that person will get a shot.

”I want COVID to be over,” says Rosalind Partee, who is in the Phase 1A 65 and older group and got a vaccine. “I want to get back to normalcy.”

Partee did her part to make her post-COVID wishes come true.

”It was much easier than I thought it would be,” she says.

Partee’s in the 65 and older group of Phase 1A. While holding her second dose papers tightly, she thinks of the promises she has to keep.

”I promised my six year old I would take him to Disneyland and he has not forgotten about it,” she says.

While the happiest place on earth is calling, she knows it is not the only reason she got it.

”I think it’s important that we do everything we can to rid this virus,” she explains.

Partee wants her age group to answer that call. Clinics around our area stopped getting as many appointments from those 65 and older. ”We just wanted to make sure we’re not leaving out that part of our community,” says Rock Hill city manager Jimmy Bagley.

Bagley helps run the Rock Hill clinic trying to get as many shots in older adults’ arms as possible, despite Phase 1B’s upcoming date. Phase 1B starts on Monday when those in it can start signing up for appointments.

”There are more places opening up for vaccines now. A lot of pharmacies and a lot of other areas,” says Bagley. “As long as they get a shot in the arm it doesn’t have to be here but we want to make sure we serve as much of the community as we can.”

It will help get Partee another step closer to keeping her promise.

”I want to go to Disneyland with my grandchildren,” says Partee.

This clinic has a call center that can help make an appointment. The number is 803-980-2684. When someone gives them a call, a call center tech will gather information. This is for people who do not have internet or need help making an appointment. However, everyone can use it.

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