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Rural communities benefiting from freed-up Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses

Updated: Jan. 25, 2021 at 11:18 PM EST
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BISHOPVILLE, S.C. (WIS) - Rural communities in South Carolina are getting some much-needed help.

In the past week, the Department of Health and Environmental Control began distributing Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses to more rural clinics, who were not equipped for the Pfizer vaccine.

>> MORE INFO | VAX FAQs on wistv.com

The Moderna vaccine requires standard vaccine storage at -20 degrees Celsius, while its Pfizer counterpart requires a -70 degrees Celsius storage (traditionally only available at hospitals or large facilities).

Additionally, the state has finished setting aside the needed Moderna doses for the long-term care facility vaccination effort being coordinated by the federal government.

Site Administrator George General said 200 Moderna doses went to the CareSouth Carolina clinic in Bishopville.

General said the clinic began accepting appointments on Friday and began vaccinations on Monday.

“It means a lot. I’m sure, just sitting here today, talking to some of the community folks who received the vaccine today. They’re happy, I feel the community is going to get a certain level of confidence and feel like help is on the way,” he said.

At the time of the interview with WIS on Monday morning, General said there were 46 appointments booked with the goal of setting up 50 appointments.

CareSouth Carolina facilities are operating on a vaccination rotation, only administering the vaccine on certain days. This policy is due to limited staff. Its spokesperson sent the following information:

CareSouth Carolina is now scheduling appointments to administer vaccines to those ages 70 and over. You do NOT need to be a patient of CareSouth Carolina. Walk-ins are NOT allowed at this time.

To make an appointment, you will need to contact one of the offices below by phone to schedule a day and time.

Vaccines locations are:

Monday: CareSouth Carolina Bishopville: 803.484.5317 (545 Sumter Hwy, Bishopville SC 29010)

Tuesday: CareSouth Carolina McColl Health & Wellness Center: 843.523.5751 (3080 Highway 15-401 E, McColl SC 29570)

Wednesday: CareSouth Carolina Hartsville: 843.332.3422 (1268 South Fourth St, Hartsville SC 29550)

Thursday: CareSouth Carolina Chesterfield: 843.623.5080 (204 Perry Wiley Way, Chesterfield SC 29709)

Friday: CareSouth Carolina Latta 843.627.6252 (122 Latimer Street, Latta SC 29565)

We are committed to serving our communities and thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

RELATED STORY Ι DHEC proposes SC vaccine appointment system to ease issues

Moderna announced on Monday it’s begun testing booster shots for the new variants that have arisen overseas.

A press release states the Moderna vaccine maintained its protection against the variant found in the U.K. and also the variant found in South Africa.

However, it also stated the vaccine was less effective against the South Africa vaccine.

In a routine call with journalists, DHEC Interim Public Health Director Brannon Traxler said she is happy that Moderna is being proactive.

She said the South African variant has not been identified in the region.

“At the time it’s really important for everyone in South Carolina to focus on getting one of the two vaccines that are available right now, either the Pfizer or the Moderna,” she said.

For information on what locations are taking appointments, DHEC is keeping a running map of clinics with access to the vaccine.

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