HOW TO: SC residents 70 and up can now schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments

DHEC gives a live update on the vaccine at 1:30 p.m.

HOW TO: SC residents 70 and up can now schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments
COVID-19 vaccine generic (Source: WMC Action News 5)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Anyone in South Carolina who is 70 years old or older may make an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13.

This story contains links and phone numbers to schedule an appointment through DHEC, Lexington Medical Center, Prisma Health and the Columbia VA.

Appointment phone lines are all experiencing high call volumes. DHEC asks for the public’s patience.

Here is the latest from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control:

  • Anyone 70+ can make an appointment whether or not they have any preexisting conditions.
  • South Carolina residency is not a requirement to receive a vaccine.
  • People may schedule a vaccine appointment at any location regardless of where they live
  • You will be asked to provide a driver’s license or other form of ID at your appointment that confirms your age in order to receive vaccine.

The vaccine can only be administered by appointment. People will not be allowed to walk into a health care facility and ask for the vaccine.

HOW TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

People may schedule their appointment by visiting this link beginning on Wednesday.

This online tool from DHEC shows all locations across the state that are administering the COVID-19 vaccine during Phases 1A and 1B-1 (everyone 70 and older).

The map includes contact information for each location so people may make an appointment, but the map itself is not a way to schedule an appointment.

People should check the map often because “the information by location can change daily based on vaccine availability,” DHEC said.

Phone lines for each location may operate at different hours because DHEC will not control that, officials said.

Also, some locations may not have appointments available for several weeks as the state’s vaccine allocation fluctuates and each location receives vaccine from the federal government.

People may also call the DHEC Care Line at 1-855-472-3432 to receive assistance with scheduling an appointment.

Again, phone lines are experiencing high call volumes and DHEC asks for the public’s patience.

IMPORTANT: After receiving the vaccine, people will receive a vaccine card to remind them when to get their second shot. DHEC says it’s very important for everyone to follow up and get that second dose, and that the second dose must match the brand of a person’s first dose.


ADDITIONAL VACCINE APPOINTMENT RESOURCES

To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine at Lexington Medical Center, do the following:

  • Call Lexington Medical Center at 803-739-3363, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • OR email covidvaccine@lexhealth.org
  • The CDC will email you a link to the VAMS registration form. If recipients do not see the email, they should check their spam or junk folder. Also, do not use Internet Explorer to access the form; instead, use Chrome, Safari or another web browser.
  • Create a VAMS login/password. Fill out the questionnaire and select a hospital vaccination site in your area. Your vaccination appointment will be confirmed by the CDC via email or text.
  • Twelve hours before your vaccination appointment, you will receive a second questionnaire from the CDC to complete before your appointment. Log in and complete the questionnaire.

Appointments will be available Sunday through Friday.

Vaccines will be administered by appointment only. Upon arrival, individuals will need to present proper identification.

At this time, citizens registering for the vaccine must have an active email account.

All COVID-19 vaccines at Lexington Medical Center take place inside the Lexington Medical Park 1 Auditorium at 2728 Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia on the hospital campus.

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Guests and children are not permitted to attend vaccine appointments. The only exception is for caregivers of patients who need assistance during the process.

Lexington Medical Center is only administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at this time.


Prisma Health Vaccine Appointments:

Prisma now has a website where people can express their interest in the vaccine. Click or tap here for the Prisma Vaccine Request Form.

Anyone who is 65 or older may fill out the form at this time.


To schedule a vaccine at the VA, start by doing the following:

  • Contact the Enrollment Coordinator at the Columbia VA Health Care System by calling 803-776-4000, option 5
  • OR Call the Telephone Advice Program (TAP) Line: (888) 651-2683, option 5
  • OR Visit the Dorn VA Medical Center’s Welcome Center. You can access the Welcome Center through the Patient Screening Entrance at the front of Building 100 on the Columbia VA Campus
  • *Reminder: A copy of your DD214, Social Security Number and a picture ID are needed to complete the Enrollment Process
  • Once enrolled, you can request to have your interest in the COVID-19 Vaccine forwarded to the appropriate scheduling staff.

If a veteran is already enrolled at the Columbia VA Health Care System, they can do the following to get a vaccine appointment:

  • Call the Telephone Advice Program (TAP) Line: (888) 651-2683, option 5
  • OR visit MyHealtheVet
  • OR go to COVID-19 Vaccines at VA
    • From this website, Veterans can also sign up, through VA’s “Stay Informed” tool, to express their interest in receiving a vaccine. Please note that Veterans do not need to “reserve” a vaccine.

VA staff said they are currently prioritizing veterans who are 75 and older, as well as those with high-risk health conditions who are between the ages of 65 and 74.


Gov. Henry McMaster and DHEC first made the announcement Monday that those 70 and older could soon get the vaccine.

“Those who are 70 and older have been the most devastated by the disease in our state,” DHEC Interim Director of Public Health Dr. Brannon Traxler said on Monday afternoon. “Based on current data, the mortality rate from COVID-19 for those 70 and older in South Carolina is approximately 655 deaths per 100,000 individuals. For those under the age of 70, there are approximately 37 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 individuals. This is a staggering comparison and illustrates why vaccinating this population next is critically important in our mission to save lives.”

According to DHEC, more than 67% of COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina have been among residents ages 70 and older.

“Because we’ve seen a dramatic acceleration in vaccine usage and appointments in the last week, we have decided to speed things up again,” said McMaster. “We know that those 70 and older are at the greatest risk of dying from COVID-19. Making sure they have expedited access to the vaccine will help save lives.”

DHEC also noted that there are about 627,800 South Carolina residents who are 70 or older. However, many have received their vaccine through other Phase 1A eligibility.

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DHEC officials said as of Monday, the state has nearly 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine ready to go, with 82,000 doses have already being administered.

“The vaccines are here, and they are a light at the end of the tunnel,” Traxler said. “But until enough of us are vaccinated fully, we must continue to wear masks, stay physically distanced from others, limit contact with people out of our household, and stay home and get tested if we are sick with any symptoms.”

Officials say over 90,000 additional appointments have been scheduled in the coming weeks for those in Phase 1A.

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