More free tetanus vaccinations offered to flood victims - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

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More free tetanus vaccinations offered to flood victims

(Source: AP Images) (Source: AP Images)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - DHEC and Tidelands Health are offering free tetanus vaccination clinics throughout the state after many families have been exposed to bacteria from severe flooding in their neighborhoods.

The vaccine is recommended if it has been 10 years or more since your last tetanus vaccination or you have experienced any injury and your shot is more than five years old. 

The Tidelands Health vaccination clinics will be held on Wednesday, October 14, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at both the Tidelands Andrews Medical Center at 701 S. Morgan Ave. in Andrews, and the Tidelands Winyah Women's Center at 1306 N. Fraser St. in Georgetown, according to a release from Tidelands Health. On Thursday, the clinics will be available from 10 a.m. to noon at the Georgetown location and from noon to 2 p.m. at the Andrews location. 

Each location will have 100 free vaccines available, which will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, the release states. The clinics are walk-in only, and no appointments will be accepted. The four clinics will also help prevent whooping cough.

 “You’ve got rusty metal, wood… you’ve got a number of germ infested things that are under the water, and you're walking around with typically non-boots on, you're walking with flip flops, open-toed shoes, even barefoot,” Doctor Gerald Harmon said.

Doctor Gerald Harmon, a Family Medicine Specialist at the Waccamaw Medical Center and the Vice President of Tidelands Heath says tetanus is a potentially life-treating bacterial illness. In a press release from Tidelands Health it says individuals involved in flood clean-up efforts may have an increased risk for wounds and doctors do not want those wounds to become infected.

In neighborhoods like the Rosewood community, people are still walking through the water.

“Our older generation and our younger generation have to walk through this bacteria invested water until it recedes. I've got a small portable boat, and I've got a four wheel drive truck, and I'm to the point this morning where if I see anyone walking through that water I'm going to get them out,” Chris Pace said.

Since younger children have a list of mandatory shots for school, Dr. Harmon is more concerned for adults. Especially those who haven't had a tetanus shot in more than five or worse ten years.

“You don't live with it, the problem is if you get exposed to the tetanus organism, which is a germ that is in the environment. Within five days of the exposure you start getting symptoms, you start getting real sick. You get an uncontrolled spasm and you eventually die despite the best treatment,” Dr. Harmon explained.

Dr. Harmon says it's all about being proactive and preventative.

“You may not even know you have an injury because your adrenaline was pumping you were walking through the water, you were worried about somebody falling, you were worried about your property or worried about the next flood, you should get the vaccination, this is the right thing to do,” he said.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced additional tetanus vaccination clinics in Florence, Georgetown, Lexington, Richland and Williamsburg counties.

Clinics to date resulted in 1,362 people receiving a tetanus vaccine. DHEC is also offering no-cost tetanus vaccinations for South Carolinians affected by flooding at state health department locations. To make an appointment for a tetanus vaccination at a health department near you, call 1-800-868-0404.
Mobile clinics are scheduled at the following times and locations:

Tuesday, Oct. 13
Williamsburg County Department of Social Services
831 N. Eastland Ave.
Kingstree, S.C.
9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Richland County Sheriff’s Department-Columbia Place Substation
7201 Two Notch Road
Columbia, S.C.
9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 14
Johnsonville Public Library
242 S. Georgetown Highway
Johnsonville, S.C.
9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Lexington County Library Cayce Branch (Also a Disaster Recovery Center)
1500 Augusta Road
West Columbia, S.C.
9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 15
Andrews Recreation Center
209 S. Maple St.
Andrews, S.C.
9 a.m.-4 p.m.

City of Columbia Distribution Center
Dutch Square Mall
421 Bush River Road
Columbia, S.C.
9 a.m-5 p.m.

Friday Oct. 16
Choppee Recreation Center
259 Choppee Road
Georgetown, S.C.
9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Lexington County Main Library
5440 Augusta Road
Lexington, S.C.
9 a.m.-2 p.m.

 DHEC will continue to announce vaccination clinics at http://www.scdhec.gov as times and locations become available.

According to Tidelands Health, the following people should not receive the vaccine:

  • A person who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a previous dose of any diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis-containing vaccine or who has a severe allergy to any part of the vaccine
  • Anyone who has experienced a coma or long repeated seizures within seven days after a childhood dose of DTP or DTaP, or a previous dose of Tdap
  • Individuals who have seizures or other nervous system problems, who had severe pain or swelling after any vaccine containing diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis or who ever had Guillain Barré Syndrome should speak with their doctor before receiving the vaccine.

Tidelands Health also recommends that during flood cleanup, you take the following steps to avoid injury and prevent infection:

  • Wash often with soap and water.
  • Wear protective clothing such as hard-soled shoes, long pants, long-sleeved shirts and heavy work gloves.
  • Take care of any wounds immediately by:
    • Washing your hands
    • Cleaning the wound with soap and water
    • Patting the wound dry and applying a clean, dry dressing
    • Consulting your doctor to see if you need to receive a tetanus shot

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