MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - South Carolina’s governor made a stop at the mass vaccination event held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Tuesday.
The city of Myrtle Beach and McLeod Health partnered up to put on the two-day event, where 5,000 people will receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The governor toured the clinic with Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune.
During the event, McMaster shared his satisfaction with seeing more people in vulnerable populations getting their doses in this fashion, because it enables more residents to roll-up their sleeves faster.
He said these larger-scale vaccination events happen when community members partner together for a greater good, helping to bring this pandemic to an end.
“What you see going on here is the people, the people, the people, coming together and helping one another,” McMaster said.
McLeod Health representatives said the governor’s presence at the mass vaccination clinic shined a light on the hospital’s mission: to serve the community when they’re needed the most.
“Make sure we spread out as far geographically as we can and touch as many as people as we can,” said Ronald Fowler, a trustee with McLeod Health. “Again, it’s the purpose McLeod was established. The governor’s presence solidifies, builds the foundation for what we’re doing, that he has our support; he understands the purpose of health care in our community.”
Bethune said she’s grateful for the governor showing his support for the event. She’s excited they’ll be hosting a second “by-appointment” only event on Wednesday at the convention center.
Bethune was asked if the city intends to continue holding more clinics in the coming weeks.
“We worked closely with McLeod Health to put this together,” Bethune said. “Of course, we had to coordinate this around our other events. But we hope to continue this thing going until all of our residents are vaccinated.”
During the event, medical and state leaders shared their support for people continuing to take necessary safety precautions, as the vaccination rollout continues.
Bethune agrees. She said holding vaccination clinics doesn’t erase the coronavirus threat yet, stating people need to continue to take the pandemic seriously.
“We are not out of the woods,” Bethune said. “We have people continuing to get sick, we have people dying. We have families that are being very deeply affected by this. So I don’t want people to have that false sense of security that just because vaccines are getting out that we need to not be cautious any longer, especially without tourist season getting ready to gear up. We need to continue to follow those precautions such as wearing a mask washing our hands, social distancing, and we will get through this. There is an end in sight, but we just aren’t there quite yet.”
Just hours prior to the clinic, McMaster announced more people would be eligible to receive the vaccine effective Monday. The governor and DHEC leaders said the state will move into Phase 1b of the distribution process, which now includes those 55 and older and teachers.
McMaster said there were hiccups with ensuring people got vaccinated in Phase 1a. He said in order for this process to go smoother, people need to wait for their turn in line.
“If you’re not eligible, you’re not eligible and we need to go by that,” McMaster said. “What we’ve done is concentrate on building a good system to where when we have plenty of vaccines, we’ll have a system that can get it out.”
McLeod Health officials said permanent vaccination sites in Horry County and the Pee Dee Region are also in the works.
During today’s clinic, McLeod officials said since December, they’ve administered more than 46,000 doses of the vaccine to people living in over 18 counties the hospitals serves. Staff said they look forward to delivering around 5,000 additional doses this week for Horry County residents during Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mass vaccination clinics.