Grand Strand area hospitals prepare to transition to Phase 1B

Grand Strand area hospitals prepare to transition to Phase 1B

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Gov. Henry McMaster has announced those in Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan will be able to start making appointments on Monday, March 8.

Hospitals across Horry County said they’re preparing for an influx of new appointments.

Chief Financial Officer at Conway Medical Center Brian Argo said they remain worried about supply.

“There’s more vaccine coming and you heard that from the new DHEC lead as well,” he said. “And we asked for more vaccine, we’ve asked for over 11,000 vaccines to be delivered next week. Hopefully, that obligation can be met, we already have met our obligation of growing our workforce in order to vaccinate as many people as we can. We need the state and DHEC to meet their obligation and send us the vaccine.”

Tidelands Health Chief Operating Officer Gayle Resetar agreed.

“Think about how long it took us to get to 1 million, and how long it’ll take to get through 2.7. There’s still a vaccine shortage,” she said.

While the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine will likely start getting sent to new providers, Resetar said supply coming into South Carolina and Tidelands Health will still be limited.

“There’s a little bit more Pfizer, and a little bit more Moderna that’s been available that’s been reclassified from long term care, but there’s not a whole new abundance of it.”

Both CMC and Tidelands said starting Monday, those who are Phase 1B-eligible will be able to fill out a form to get on their waitlists.

As of Wednesday, Tidelands says they’re working to finish up making appointments for those on their Phase 1A waitlist but can’t say just how many are left.

CMC said they have about 1,200 people left to schedule.

For Grand Strand Medical Center, they’re not opening up new vaccine appointments for Phase 1B. They said they’re still focused on finishing second doses for those in Phase 1A. Hospital officials said uncertainty in supply will keep them from scheduling any new first doses.

For those in Phase 1A, CMC official stress if you haven’t reached out yet to do so now. You can still get vaccinated after Monday, but you won’t be prioritized over Phase 1B.

Anyone in Phase 1A that has an appointment, but you haven’t gotten to it yet, they said you won’t get canceled on.

“We want you to understand that for those in Phase 1A if you’re registered and have an appointment, you will not lose that, will we keep that obligation to you, you will get that vaccine,” said Argo.

Copyright 2021 WMBF. All rights reserved.