COLUMBIA, S.C. — A surge in demand with a limited supply makes a challenging combination for Palmetto State leaders working to ramp up vaccination efforts.
“We are getting about 24,000 calls on average a day,” Dr. Brannon Traxler with the State Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said. “At this time the flow of vaccination from the federal government is just not sufficient.”
According to Traxler, “currently 100 percent of COVID-19 vaccines available in our state have either been given or are scheduled to be given.”
“We continue to encourage those in phase 1a to schedule their vaccine appointments. This will help shots to be given as quickly as possible once we have additional doses of vaccine,” Traxler said.
The process to schedule has been no easy task for those like Angela Brown.
“It’s been kind of difficult getting someone on the phone,” Brown said. “It’s been difficult at the sites that were designated.”
To help, Traxler said they’ve doubled the number of call center operators.
As for designated sites, the health agency spoke out Monday after more than 650 people received the shot Friday at the state fairgrounds. The event, they said, was only intended for scheduled first responders.
“Instead of turning them away, the clinic organizers began diverting those without appointments into a separate line,” Traxler said.
While they wait for more vaccine doses, Traxler said they’re working on a system that will streamline the sign-up process, including an option where people can be scheduled by phone. Until then, they ask for patience.