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Grand Strand hospitals seeing major slowdown in vaccine demand

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 6:49 PM EDT
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MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - More than 1.7 million South Carolinians have at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s vaccine dashboard.

But, as the state continues to forge ahead against the pandemic, some Grand Strand hospitals said vaccine demand has slowed down a lot.

The staff at Tidelands Health said they’re doing fewer vaccinations each week because of the lack of demand.

Tidelands Health Chief Operating Officer Gayle Resetar said the hospital is usually allocated 3,500 vaccine doses each week. Because of the slowdown in vaccinations, they now have a surplus in doses. Resetar said they haven’t requested an additional order for the past two weeks.

The drop in demand comes as the federal government plans to shift the way vaccine doses are allocated among states.

If a state doesn’t want all of its allocations, then the vaccines will go to other states that need them, which is a bit concerning to Resetar.

She said surveys report most people want or plan to get the vaccine, but haven’t yet.

“That’s bad news to me,” she said. “I don’t want to see the vaccine that’s designated to South Carolina reallocated because we’re just not getting around to it. If 80% of our citizens want to get the vaccine now is the time.”

Allyson Floyd with Conway Medical Center said they also haven’t had to order more doses this week or next week.

Both hospitals have moved from mass vaccination sites to walk-in clinics.

Floyd said last week, they had 200 people walk in for a shot. So far the week, there have been around 90 people.

When it comes to the drop in demand, Floyd said that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“The demand still is there. I think a lot of it, which is a great thing to have, is that the supply has stepped up to meet the demand. Before we were having such as issue,” Floyd said.

Despite an overall slowdown in vaccine demand, Horry and Georgetown counties remain in the top five for vaccination rates in the state.

Both Resetar and Floyd believe demand will increase when children become eligible for vaccinations.

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