Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Limited Availability of COVID 19 Vaccine Troubling to Area Residents

Retired LPN Helen Lane

If you're over the age of 70 and hoping to quickly get a COVID 19 vaccine, you'll have to quite literally get in line. Pack your patience, as the application process for setting the appointment is not only lengthy, you're required to go through several steps on more than one website to get your name on the list.

The DHEC site gives you a link to register for a vaccine appointment:



Locations accepting appointments for Phase 1A, which includes those age 70 and older, are shown on the vaccine locator map. There were seventeen locations listed, with the bulk of them stating that they’re not accepting appointments for the vaccine at this time. Further, walk-ins aren’t being accepted by Prisma Health as of yesterday. 


According to the DHEC website, “South Carolina, like all states, currently has limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine. Some locations that offer vaccine may not have an appointment available for several weeks, depending on their vaccine supply. Facilities receive doses of vaccine each week from the federal government.”


The complicated process for registering for the vaccine may be a barrier to those in the 70 and above age group. Not everyone has access to a computer and further, the complicated process may cause some people to just give up. For example, all available COVID-19 vaccine appointments at Publix Pharmacies in South Carolina have been claimed. Additional appointments will be announced as Publix receives more inventory. Those seeking an appointment through the Publix Pharmacy will need to schedule online only, as the local pharmacies aren’t taking calls or walk-ins. 


Helen Lane, a retired LPN and resident of Lexington County, tried several times to get an appointment as soon as the vaccine was announced. “You’ve got to jump through hoops and try to get in,” she said. “I never got in touch with anybody personally. I went on four different sites and filled out the application and before I could get it filled out and sent in, they’d already advanced the dates at least two months.” She attempted to reach, either by phone, the internet or both, Lexington Medical Center, Prisma Health, DHEC and Doctor’s Care.


Lane described the process as time consuming and frustrating. “When you first sign in, they give you three weeks of times and dates, but by the time you got the rest of the stuff filled out, none of those were open. I finally got an appointment with one of the four I was working with for the first dose. You’ll have to go back through everything again for the second one.”


As a part of the registration process, Lane had to also visit the CDC website and create a profile. “That wasn’t hard, it was pretty straightforward,” she said.   

Prisma Health, one of our area’s largest healthcare providers, is working rapidly to provide the COVID-19 vaccine. They’ve outlined a detailed procedure to schedule an appointment:

If you have a computer and email access:

  • Fill out our vaccine request form or call us at  833-2PRISMA (833-277-4762). Note that each person must have their own email. You can not register more than one person with the same email.
  • You will receive an email from Marketing@PrismaHealth.org to confirm receipt of your online request form. This is not an appointment.
  • You will receive an email from the CDC with a link to the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS). This link is unique to you and cannot be shared with anyone else.
  • Click the link to the VAMS portal and create a username and password. Do not use Internet Explorer. Use Google Chrome, Safari or other web browser.
  • Follow the instructions, which include completing a medical questionnaire and scheduling an appointment.

If you DO NOT have a computer

  • Ask a friend or family member with a smartphone or computer to help you create an email and register for an appointment. Appointments are required to receive a vaccine.
  • Call 833-2PRISMA for help with registering for an appointment.
  • Visit a Prisma Health vaccine location for in-person assistance with registering for an appointment. All Prisma Health vaccination sites are offering this service except Richland Hospital and Greenville Memorial Hospital. Please expect long wait times for scheduling assistance as it is available on a first-come, first-served basis for a small number of people.
  • Note that Same-day appointments and vaccinations are not available at any of our vaccine sites.

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