Problems reported as DHEC opens vaccine appointments for those 70 and older

Tracking The Vaccine

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – DHEC officials posted on their Facebook page Wednesday morning that their phone line to schedule an appointment for a vaccine is having issues.

Appointments opened up for any South Carolina resident aged 70 or older, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Viewers have reported problems trying to reach anyone on the appointment line.

In addition to phone line issues, the DHEC appointment map shows only one location in Horry County for those 70 and older to get a vaccine. The U.S. Census reports 25 percent of the county’s population is older than 65.

Conway Medical Center reached its capacity for COVID-19 vaccine appointments early in the afternnon on Wednesday. The hospital said the limit is due to “anticipated allocation of vaccines from DHEC, we have reached our capacity.” They will set new appointments as soon as they know about their updated allocation of vaccines from DHEC.

The largest obstacle is the number of first doses that enter the state from the federal government, according to DHEC. Sixty thousand doses are delivered each week for the state and DHEC says there are 10 times more people who are 70 or older.

News13 has tried the phone number periodically throughout the day, but it is not working. “Our team is working to quickly correct technical issues and your patience is appreciated,” the South Carolina department of health posted on Facebook. 

DHEC said more than 5,000 people called into the line to schedule on Wednesday. The department usually takes 8,000 calls per week. Officials said they expect high call volumens and the issues are being corrected to handle the more than double amount of calls.

Tidelands Health told News13, it received over 15,000 requests in vaccinations by midday Wednesday. It expects to schedule about 2,000 appointments next week.

Vaccine provider locations also can be found here at this website.

For appointments, DHEC provided this phone number, 855-472-3432, or go to scdhec.gov/vaxlocator.

Count on News13 for updates as we continue to reach out to DHEC for more information.

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