JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - In South Carolina the next group in line eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can now start making their appointments. That group is those who are 65 and older.
Coastal Carolina has been trying to help those over the age of 70 sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for weeks now. And today that group expanded to those over 65. They say although that brings its challenges, they are still going to schedule as many people as possible.
Until today the only people in the general population who could get a vaccine in South Carolina were 70 and older. Coastal Carolina was averaging about 650 sign-ups a day. Many of those people needed help signing up.
“We noticed early on that so many of our seniors didn’t have either Internet access, computer access or even an email account. So they really had no way to even register for this vaccine and they were by and large the most affected by this disease in a negative outcome way,” said Lisa Hensley, Market Director of Clinical Informatics.
Now, the age group of those who can sign up for a vaccine has expanded to those 65 and up.
“The 65 and older I’m hoping a few more of them have the computer savvy to at least have an email address. I feel like the younger we get the more likely folks are to be able to navigate the VAM system on their own but we are certainly there to support them,” said Hensley.
Over 4,000 people have signed up for the vaccine today alone, but the hospital was already booked out until April. This means many appointments won’t be until late spring.
“That changes as people maybe they find a vaccine in the community at one of the retail venues, at the retail pharmacies. They can then cancel the appointment that they have in the Vaccine Administration Management Systems (VAMS) which opens up an appointment maybe that day, maybe the next day,” said Hensley.
The hospital group does emphasize that if you have an appointment here but you are able to get an earlier one elsewhere, go ahead and take that appointment and cancel the one at this hospital so another person can sign up.