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DHEC leader addresses drive-thru vaccine clinic at S.C. State Fairgrounds, why it wasn’t publicized

Updated: Jan. 18, 2021 at 6:39 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The interim public health director for the Department of Health and Environmental Control wants to assure people that a vaccine clinic at the South Carolina Fairgrounds was not a secret.

Dr. Brannon Traxler said that the clinic held on Friday was a pilot clinic that was supposed to be appointment-only and for those who are Phase 1a first responders.

She added that there were media reports stating that the clinic was a secret, but she explained that it was not advertised publicly because it wasn’t supposed to be open to the general public. However, those who didn’t have an appointment still learned about the event and showed up to get a vaccine.

“Even without publicly noticing I will say this ‘by appointment’ event, people began showing up to this event without an appointment as they learned it was going on. And instead of turning them away the clinic organizers began diverting those without appointments into a separate line and my understanding is they were registering them on the side to get a vaccine if we still had doses available,” Traxler explained.

Over 650 people received their first doses at the event, according to Traxler.

She added that DHEC did learn from this pilot event and will take those points into consideration and will apply them to make logistical changes for how future, potential large-scale vaccine clinics could be held to ensure that there’s a smooth process.

But Traxler said that she doesn’t expect any large-scale vaccine clinics anytime soon until there is more vaccine available.

During Monday’s media briefing, she said that the supply from the federal government is not sufficient and is not meeting the demand in South Carolina. The state is currently receiving about 63,000 doses a week. Traxler said we will be receiving the same amount of vaccine at least through January. It’s not clear if South Carolina will start receiving more in the future.

Currently, 100% of vaccines in the state have either been given or are scheduled to be given.

But Traxler encouraged those in Phase 1a to continue to schedule appointments while asking everyone to be patient.

She said that some vaccine providers are having to push back appointments due to the limited vaccine.

She also added that people are discouraged from double-booking appointments. If you are already scheduled to get a vaccine at one provider, you should not go to another provider and book another vaccine appointment.

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