‘It was very simple’: Hundreds receive COVID-19 vaccine at Myrtle Beach’s 1st mass vaccination event

Updated: Feb. 9, 2021 at 8:04 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Hundreds of people received vaccinations Tuesday at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

This was the first mass vaccination event in the city and a major indicator of how future events will go.

The city provided the convention center space, but it was entirely run by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The clinic was by appointment only. Approximately 600 people ages 65 and older registered to get vaccinated.

After receiving the shot, people waited in an observation area for at least 15 minutes for any potential side effects.

Troopers with the South Carolina National Guard, as well as the Myrtle Beach Police and Fire Departments, were on hand to help facilitate the process.

“It was very simple. It was easy. The vaccination, no discomfort at all,” said 73-year-old Barry Stopfel.

The mass vaccination clinic is part of DHEC’s mission to vaccinate as many people as possible in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus.

Jim Bruckner, DHEC’s Director of Public Health for the Pee Dee Region, said right now the state receives 64,000 doses from the federal government each week.

“Our goal is by Friday to have exhausted whatever that week’s supply was that we received,” Bruckner said.

However, several issues remain. The biggest one continues to be the scarce vaccine supply.

“The demand far outweighs what we are able to do,” he said. “Our appointment slots fill up in a matter of a day or two.”

Bruckner said it’s also hard to plan community vaccinations in advance when supply can vary each week.

“Because it’s all based on the allocation that we receive and whether we’re going to get that 64,000 doses into the state every week,” he said.

In the Pee Dee region, that’s currently around 1,500 doses.

Bruckner said the department holds a vaccine clinic in at least two counties each day to help people like Stopfel make their return to normalcy.

“We can finally, at long last, get this herd immunity thing going so we can get back together again,” Stopfel said. “As people, we need to do that.”

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