DHEC admits error, accidentally told Horry County Fire Rescue they would get additional vaccine doses

DHEC admits error, accidentally told Horry County Fire Rescue they would get additional vaccine doses

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Over the past month, Horry County and DHEC have gone back and forth over how the county had administered vaccines to employees and their family members well before they were eligible under DHEC’s COVID-19 vaccine phases.

However, as Phase 1B opened earlier this month, Horry County announced they would vaccinate community members through clinics.

But all that changed Thursday.

Horry County released a statement and said they wouldn’t receive the doses, citing a “miscommunication” error with state health officials.

The next day, DHEC took part of the blame during a media briefing. The agency admitted to mistakenly giving Horry County Fire Rescue incorrect information.

Nick Davidson, DHEC Senior Deputy of Public Health, said they meant to tell Horry County Fire Rescue they could make public appointments for the first doses they already had.

But that didn’t happen.

“We did mistakenly inform them, that they could, or that they would be receiving additional first doses,” said Davidson.

This caused the county to start taking 818 appointments for the Moderna vaccine they already had on hand and announce the future clinics to the public.

“That was a mistake and was quickly clarified by a supervisor, clarified that issue to Horry County Fire Rescue,” said Davidson.

DHEC says it is making it clear that Horry County is to finish the remaining first doses they have, and will not receive additional first doses.

The county released a statement on Thursday and said people with appointments should still come.

Additionally, DHEC clarified Friday that the county will receive 2,200 second doses for those who are already vaccinated. Davidson said they believe the county will use those doses appropriately.

After the second doses are shipped, Horry County will not receive any more doses from DHEC.

On top of the miscommunication, DHEC said another issue was how the county was scheduling.

DHEC said they weren’t set up correctly as a public provider. WMBF News has not been able to confirm with the county how people we’re scheduled for the 818 first doses.

County officials have declined multiple requests for interviews on this topic.

DHEC previously told WMBF News that Horry County Fire Rescue was not set up as a public distributor.

On Friday, Davidson reiterated that the county won’t be one anytime soon.

“I do understand, going forward, that they are not going to be a community provider outside of fire rescue to the general community, any longer,” he said. “After they finish their 2,200 second doses that we will be sending them next week, if they change their mind they decide they’ll go another direction, they want to talk about being a community provider, we would be happy to entertain a discussion with them.”

According to the county, April 6 will be the last day they vaccinate anyone for a first dose.

DHEC said they now regret giving the country the wrong information.

In a statement the county released Thursday, they said they “remain frustrated by the lack of ability from SCDHEC to consistently communicate with vaccine providers in the state.”

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