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S.C. National, State Guard members help DHEC by answering COVID-19 vaccine calls

SCEMD helping field COVID-19 vaccine calls
SCEMD helping field COVID-19 vaccine calls(Twitter: @SCEMD)
Updated: Jan. 19, 2021 at 4:51 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - If you’re calling South Carolina’s hotline for help with making a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, an S.C. National or State Guard member just might be on the other side.

On Tuesday, the South Carolina Emergency Management Department tweeted photos of guard members answering phone calls, in support of the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s efforts to have an open hotline to provide assistance to people searching for a vaccine appointment.

DHEC previously said on Monday that they are averaging about 24,000 calls a day. Last week, they doubled their dedicated call operators to 61 people but said they were working in conjunction with SCEMD to be able to field more calls.

SCEMD’s line, the Public Info Phone System (otherwise known as PIPS), is oftentimes utilized for hurricane response, DHEC said.

The S.C. State Emergency Response Team told WMBF News there are several members from the S.C. State Guard and a dozen people from the National Guard who are staffing PIPS now to help.

“SCEMD has plans to support DHEC with additional staff as needed,” they said.

South Carolina is currently in Phase 1a of vaccine distribution. The CARE line is available at 1-855-472-3432 to individuals 70 and older.

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