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SC seniors line up for support after challenging start to vaccine registration

Richland County leaders held a vaccine registration event for seniors after many reported challenges scheduling online.

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — It was a cool Monday morning as cars began lining up outside the James E. Clyburn Technology Center.

Inside them were seniors, many frustrated, but hopeful for the chance at support from the masked staffers at the coronavirus vaccination sign-up site.

Among those working was Richland County Councilwoman Gretchen Barron.

“The frustration has been great,” Barron said. “One gentleman told me, I’m risking my life to come out here to get registered when I should be able to do this at home. That hits a place in my heart.”

Barron organized the event to try to help with the multistep registration process, after many seniors who are in the first phase of vaccination reported challenges registering online.

RELATED: COVID-19 drive-through vaccination site open near Williams-Brice Stadium

“We’re thankful,” Angela Brown, who was in line with her parents, said. “They’re all over 70, so I really want to vaccinate them."

As Brown waited for assistance at the event, she said they were also waiting for help through the State Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Care Line.

RELATED: DHEC works to add phone operators as SC seniors face challenges on first day of vaccine scheduling

“…haven’t been able to get anyone to answer as of yet,” Brown said. “I called about 10:30 am. and I’m still on hold. It’s 11:52 a.m.”

Others had sought advice from friends and family on how to get through.

“I talked to my niece who's in the medical field and she said you need to go to Lexington,” Jerelean Noble said, but when she called Lexington Medical Center, “they were saying it was too late to sign up.... By the grace of God, I looked on my email. My church is Right Direction Church International and I looked on their and it said the James E. Clyburn Center and I said, oh, God hallelujah.”

RELATED: What you need to know when signing up for a COVID-19 vaccine

The site, which was only open Monday, helped with step one of the process by registering seniors online.

Now, they’ll have to wait 24 to 48 hours for step two with a link from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to complete registration and officially schedule an appointment.

“Well, it’s just kind of disappointing,” Brown said of the wait, “but hopefully we can get it as soon as possible.”

Barron said she’s working with other county leaders to try to schedule another pop-up site to help seniors through the registration process.

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