COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for anyone 70 years or older in South Carolina regardless of health status or pre-existing conditions, Prisma Health officials warn it’s not going to be an immediate process.
“We are going to be constrained not by the capacity to deliver the vaccine, but by the number of doses of vaccine that we actually have available to give,” Prisma Health CEO Mark O’Halla said on Wednesday.
Prisma Health officials, along with Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, gave an update on the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in the Midlands on Wednesday morning during a press conference.
Well, Prisma Health officials warned that the limited supply of the vaccine might slow down the process for those over 70 years old trying to get the vaccine, but the best thing to do right now if you qualify is to go ahead and get in line.
“As we are constrained by the number of doses we get, it may take a little time to get to you, but we will get to you,” O’Halla said about the roll-out and asked people to be patient.
“We are expanding our vaccination access,” Prisma Health Chief Medical Officer and Co-lead of the Prisma Vaccine Task Force Dr. Saria Saccocio said. “We’ve doubled the number of vaccines and our capacity on a daily basis already, but we are limited by the number of doses we receive”
O’Halla said they have administered over 22,000 vaccinations to those in group 1A and are averaging over 2,000 vaccinations a day across the state. He said they have plans to continue expanding.
“We’re going to be continuing to add new vaccination sites next week outside of our hospital to free up our hospital space for the surge of COVID-19 patients we are seeing,” O’Halla said.
O’Halla said the tremendous surge in cases and hospitalizations, as well as staff being out due to COVID-19, continues to strain Prisma Health and other hospitals across the state.
“We are now in a position where we are managing day in and day out,” O’Halla said.
He urged people to be careful and follow safety protocols as the vaccine roll-out continues.
“Wear your masks, wash your hands, try to stay 6 feet apart, don’t go into large groups, and it will help us speed up this whole process,” O’Halla said.
Prisma Health is one of dozens of hospital facilities, Doctors Care locations, and DHEC sites that will be providing vaccinations to those over 70 years of age in the coming weeks.