CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster made a stop in the Grand Strand as part of his tour to see how quickly hospitals are administering COVID-19 vaccines.
He toured Conway Medical Center’s Socastee location, Health Plaza South, on Tuesday. The governor started out in the vaccination center, where he got to interact with healthcare workers administering the vaccine and those receiving it.
The hospital changed its pediatric waiting room into its main vaccination center for people from the general public who have vaccination appointments.
He finished touring the fairly new facility, then relayed a message for all the hospitals in the state.
”Use all of them. Give them every one they have,” said McMaster. “Use all of them before the next shipment comes in.”
He said if hospitals don’t have the staff to administer every dose of the vaccine they receive, then they can get some help.
“We issued an order, DHEC did, allowing retired nurses and physicians, medical students, other professionals who are qualified to give vaccinations to assist,” said McMaster.
The governor did not indicate if CMC was one of the hospitals he was referring to in his speech. his address.
But hospital CEO Bret Barr feels comfortable that CMC is “leading the pack” since being the first hospital in the state to administer a vaccine.
“Now that we have clear direction from DHEC and the state on what we are able to do, we’ll take that guidance and do exactly what the governor asked us to do,” said Barr.
Four local state house representatives also joined the governor on his tour at CMC.
Each one recently signed a letter addressed to South Carolina congressional representatives requesting a stronger push for more vaccines in the state.
That narrative is a little different than the governor’s speech about hospitals needing to work faster.
District 107 Representative Case Brittain said they aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.
“It’s on both fronts,” said Brittain. “We want hospitals to make sure they get the vaccines, and as soon as they get them, we need to turn back around and ask our federal government for more vaccines.”
The governor said his next step may be an executive order that would cease elective procedures until hospitals make the vaccine a priority.