YORK, S.C. (WBTV) -Across the Carolinas, if someone needs the COVID vaccine, that person needs to make an appointment.
Despite thousands of doses coming to South Carolina weekly, it is difficult to find an open slot.
”I call it a high stakes scavenger hunt,” says York County resident Henry McMaster.
For a person who does not have internet, that scavenger hunt gets harder. A group in York is trying to change that. York is considered a rural part of York County.
Getting an appointment is tough even with internet. That is why New Home AME Zion Church and Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd are stepping in.
”This is not going to be easy for a lot of people,” thought McMaster. For him, learning how to get an appointment was personal. McMaster decided to use his skills to help others.
”My mom needed an appointment and she of course doesn’t have the computer skills necessary to register,” he says.
That is where two York churches, Good Shepherd York and New Home A.M.E Zion, come in.
”I wanted to make sure we were servicing the community,” says Reverend Henry Gregory, who is the pastor at New Home.
When he saw the need for help in a community with little internet access, he jumped into action. It is the same thing a team of coordinators and Reverend Amanda Robertson is doing at Good Shepherd. Getting the help from local organizations and vaccine clinics helps fuel these efforts for both churches. In fact, whenever a vaccine appointment is made at Good Shepherd, volunteers ring the church’s bells.
”It gives our church something to do so we aren’t just sitting around waiting on a zoom call. Service doesn’t stop. The need doesn’t stop, so service doesn’t stop,” says Gregory.
The sanctuary is quiet this Friday, but on Wednesday it is a different story. Gregory says people fill the empty pews either using the church’s Wi-Fi or getting help from a volunteer to sign up.
”We want to do what we have to do to get back to some type of normality and vaccines are a part of it,” says Gregory.
McMaster says the help is making a difference.
”It’s a great feeling because you know you’ve made a significant improvement into their ability to get the vaccine,” he says.
Gregory tells me he is also trying to get a vaccine clinic at the church. So people do not only have to register here, but they can also get the vaccine. Good Shepherd York is open on Tuesdays and New Home A-M-E Zion is open on Wednesdays for anyone needing help. The churches want to be clear this is just for vaccine appointments and not the actual vaccine.