Horry County hospitals expect a spike in demand after FDA approves Pfizer vaccine

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Vaccination clinics throughout the county are preparing for a high demand in vaccine’s after the Food and Drug Association gave approval to the Pfizer vaccine.

The FDA started the evaluation of full authorization for the Pfizer vaccine back in May. Health officials at Tidelands and Conway Medical Center said with the several months it took to come to this conclusion, they’re hopeful more people will be encouraged to get the vaccine.

“If you’re thinking of getting vaccinated, I would urge you to do so,” Paul Richardson, chief medical officer at Conway Medical Center, said.

Richardson said the FDA approval of the vaccine is a milestone and that the hospital’s vaccination clinics are already significantly busier than before.

“Based on yesterday’s volumes, we probably very quickly will have to up staff and open up more days,” he said. “And listen, we are willing and able to do that. We want to do that, we want to meet the needs of this community.”

On Monday, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine, which lead many hospital’s to believe that this may have been a factor holding many people back.

“All of the surveys of unvaccinated individuals do indicate that there’s a certain percentage of them that have been waiting for the full authorization to get the vaccine,” said Gayle Resetar, the chief operating officer at Tidelands Health.

About 55% of eligible state residents have at least one vaccine, and roughly 47 percent have both, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Resetar is hoping at least a 15 to 20% of the population will re-evaluate their choice.

“We’re hoping for 80% of our population in the two counties. we’re in the low 60’s now, so we’ve got some work to do with the eligible patients,” she said.

Doctors are hopeful the stamp of approval will help ease any vaccine hesitancy for eligible patients who are on the fence about getting the shot.

“I hope that it will put some people’s mind at ease,” Richardson said. “I do understand why people do have a certain level of comfort from that FDA stamp of approval.”

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