COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As many in the state struggle to make COVID-19 vaccine appointments, one South Carolina woman was determined to make it happen in honor of her late husband, who died from the virus.
The Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) took Columbia resident Jo Mooney a couple of days to figure out and complete her registration for her first shot.
Mooney, 81, said she lost her husband to COVID-19 in November.
“We were married 58 years we were like…they called us the twins. When we walked into doctors’ offices or somewhere, they said, ‘oh here comes the twins,’ because we were always together,” she said.
Mooney said her late husband Terry contracted the virus while in rehab after suffering from a stroke.
“And just within a week’s time, he was gone. It came on so fast. So hard,” she remembered.
For Jo Mooney, one of the most difficult parts of losing her other half was being separated from him in his final moments.
She said the last time she saw him in person he was being taken away in an ambulance.
Right before her husband died, a nurse at Lexington Medical Center let Terry use her iPad to say goodbye to Jo.
“We just blew kisses and it was over. It was horrible. My heart was broken. I kept saying, ‘we need to talk about this, we need to be able to say something, we need to talk again,’” she said while tearing up.
When she qualified for the COVID-19 vaccine, Mooney spent hours registering for her first shot.
“It was very [nerve-racking] because I was already very anxious anyway. It took me three or four steps to get in to make the actual appointment,” she said.
Once her friend dropped her off at the hospital, Mooney said she was overwhelmed by emotions.
“Everything flooded in my mind again. Just him. Thoughts of him,” she said. “I knew that was the way I could do something for him. So, I went and got the shot. It didn’t matter if I had any effects any aftereffects. It was worth it for him.”
Mooney said she knows her story isn’t rare, so she hopes people in power listen to her voice and make every effort they can to improve South Carolina’s vaccine rollout.
“Please, please, please, make it happen. Our country…the numbers are terrible... Do anything you can. Put anything aside to make this happen. Our economy will be better. Our world will be better if we make this happen,” she said.
The Department of Health and Environment said they hope to launch a simpler, vaccine registration system this week and are finalizing details on the process.