Grand Strand, Pee Dee hospitals hope to ramp up vaccinations after holiday season

Tracking The Vaccine

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) – Hospitals on the Grand Strand and in the Pee Dee are hoping COVID-19 vaccinations will quickly increase after a slower than promised nationwide rollout.

South Carolina’s weekly positive test rate climbs into the 30% range. Monday’s single-day rate of 33.3% was a new record.

Hospitals say more vaccinations will mean fewer COVID-19 patients overwhelming healthcare systems.

“One in 10 people who get COVID are getting admitted to the hospital, so we can’t let our guard down,” said Gayle Resetar, chief operating officer at Tideland Health. “We are so close to the finish line.”

McLeod health has received nearly nine thousand doses and Dr. Peter Hyman says a record of more than 400 people were vaccinated by the healthcare provider Monday.

“We have had no problems, at this point, with getting the vaccines from DHEC,” said Dr. Hyman, who’s the associate vice president of workplace health and safety at McLeod Health. “They have given us our weekly allotments without any problems.”

Many hospitals are lagging behind in giving what they’ve received, however. DHEC data says four major hospitals in our area have only administered about 25-40% of their vaccines.

Tidelands and McLeod both say Christmas and New Year’s Day likely caused a slower rollout.

“It was just hard to get people to want to do it then,” said Resetar. “A lot of people in the very beginning were a little afraid that they wouldn’t feel great and they didn’t want to feel bad on Christmas Eve.”

Still, Tidelands says 80% of its physicians have received their first doses and McLeod is also working to get vaccines to all its corners of the Pee Dee.

“With the computer system, you can see who’s made appointments to get the vaccines,” said Dr. Hyman. “We have couriers that go out to deliver the vaccine to the rural community hospitals.”

Tidelands and McLeod also say they’re only receiving the Pfizer vaccine, since it needs to be stored at extremely cold temperatures in hospitals, while the Moderna vaccine will mostly go to places without that special freezer capacity, since it doesn’t need be stored as coldly as Pfizer’s.

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