Tidelands Health administering record number of COVID-19 vaccines this week
Despite ongoing vaccine supply and shipping challenges statewide and across the nation, Tidelands Health will vaccinate about 5,200 people this week – a record number for a single week at the health system since vaccinations began in December.
Tidelands Health continues to be the leader in administering COVID-19 vaccine along the Grand Strand and ranks among the top eight providers statewide in vaccine administration – the smallest health system in that top tier. To date, Tidelands Health has administered more than 23,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including more than 17,000 doses to seniors 70 and older.
By the end of today, about 5,200 people – mostly seniors 70 and older – will have received first or second doses this week at Tidelands Health regional vaccination sites in Murrells Inlet and Georgetown. Most of the doses represent second doses for seniors who received their first dose from Tidelands Health three weeks ago. Individuals are booked for their second shot when they book their first shot so they don’t have to scramble to book a second appointment or face uncertainty over whether they can get the second appointment.
Several factors led to the record week, including a slight uptick in first doses from the government (though still thousands of doses short of the health system’s weekly order), a precise technique at Tidelands Health clinics that leads to an additional dose from nearly every vial and effective management of supply amid vaccine shortages and shipment delays around the country.
“It’s been a challenging juggling act, but our team continues to persevere – fueled by our dedication to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Gayle Resetar, chief operating officer of Tidelands Health. “It was nice to see our regional vaccination sites hopping this week. We hope to continue this pace – and ramp up even more – if we can get more vaccine supply from the government each week. We are working diligently to administer the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine in our community.
“The only factor slowing our pace of distribution is the extremely limited and uncertain vaccine supply.”
Like other health systems across the state and nation, Tidelands Health is not receiving sufficient vaccine supply from the government to meet the overwhelming demand for vaccine. Inclement weather in other parts of the country over the past two weeks has also created uncertainty and shipping delays.
Because the health system has effectively managed its supply and adjusted clinic operating days in anticipation of shipping delays, no patient appointments to receive a vaccine have been canceled.
About 15,000 people, primarily seniors 70 and older, remain on the health system’s waitlist for a vaccine. Tidelands Health continues to schedule appointments to match anticipated vaccine supply.
Tidelands Health is not accepting additional vaccine requests at this time, as the health system focuses on getting vaccine to the thousands already on its waitlist. Phase 1a individuals who are not already on the waitlist can go to tidelandshealth.org/vaccine/ and sign up to be notified when the health system begins accepting vaccine requests again.
“We thank seniors for their patience. We know they are eager to get the vaccine, and we are eager to get it to them,” Resetar said. “We remain hopeful the vaccine supply will increase in the coming weeks.”