From funeral home staff to home health providers, Phase 1a workers turned to Tidelands Health for COVID-19 vaccine
Before tens of thousands of adults 70 and older became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine last week, vaccines were limited to mission-critical Phase 1a workers. And Tidelands Health, in addition to vaccinating its own workforce, stepped up to administer the vaccine to more than 1,200 mission-critical workers across the region.
Since Dec. 16, Tidelands Health has administered the lifesaving vaccine to mission-critical workers ranging from health care workers to dentists to funeral home staff. More than 200 regional employers partnered with Tidelands Health in recent weeks to facilitate vaccination of their Phase 1a workers.
“Our goal is to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to as many eligible people in our region as quickly and efficiently as possible, as outlined in the state’s vaccine distribution plan,” said Gayle Resetar, chief operating officer at Tidelands Health. “When first responders, funeral home directors, home health care workers and others in the community turned to us, we created a streamlined way to vaccinate eligible Phase 1a workers.”
Russ Graham of Graham Funeral Home is thankful he and 10 members of his staff received the vaccine to better protect themselves in their high-risk line of work.
“That is something that weighed heavily on me,” said Graham, who is scheduled to receive his second dose of the vaccine at Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital this week. “To have this vaccine offered to us is a godsend to my staff and my family. This allows us to serve our community better and also serve them more safely. It lets our clients know we are safe, and it gives us peace of mind.”
Even as Tidelands Health stood up processes to vaccinate 1,200-plus Phase 1a workers across the region in recent weeks, the health system also continued to prepare to roll out the vaccine to broader groups -- and to care for record numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
A week ago and in alignment with state guidelines, Tidelands Health began vaccinating those 70 and older at community vaccine clinics in Georgetown and Murrells Inlet. More than 30,000 people ages 70 and older have signed up to request the vaccine from Tidelands Health, with nearly 5,000 individuals already receiving their first dose since Jan. 18. The vaccine is administered by appointment only, and appointments are scheduled in the order requests are received.
Anyone who meets Phase 1a guidelines can request a vaccine at tidelandshealth.org/vaccine.
“Administering the vaccine is a monumental task, but our team is up to the challenge,” Resetar said. “We have established dedicated vaccine clinics, hired temporary workers to staff the clinics and developed streamlined processes to quickly and efficiently vaccinate thousands of people every week.
“Our team is motivated and ready to get the vaccine to as many eligible people in our region as quickly as vaccine supply allows. This is a pivotal time in our battle with COVID-19. Getting this vaccine out gives us all hope better days are ahead.”