By Patrick Phillips|December 14, 2020 at 5:34 PM EST - Updated December 14 at 7:37 PM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Hospitals across the Lowcountry are making their plans to begin vaccinating their health care workers as the state’s doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the state.
Roper St. Francis Health and MUSC both announced will begin vaccines Tuesday.
Late Monday afternoon, however, MUSC spokesperson Heather Woolwine said they learned of shipping delaysthat would postpone the expected arrival of its doses, leading them to postpone the first vaccinations they originally slated for 6 a.m.
MUSC has not said how many doses it is expecting or how many staff members they expect to inoculate. But the first doctors and nurses are expected to go to a vaccination mobile site once the vaccine has been received.
They also planned to stagger the vaccinations because of possible side effects that include sore arms and a small fever, something MUSC Epidemiologist Dr. Robert Ball said is a normal immune reaction. If side effects require doctors or nurses to take a day off, the hospital will not be left short-handed because of the staggering, he said.
Dr. Robert Oliverio, Roper’s chief medical officer for ambulatory care and population health, said the hospital expects to receive 1,950 doses in the first shipment.
Oliverio says he expects that they will be able to vaccinate about a one-third of its team members from the first shipment of the vaccine. They have just over 6,000 team members and the vaccine is optional.
“The good news is a majority of our teammates want to get that vaccine, especially our medical staff,” Oliverio said. “They’ve been waiting for it and they are really anxious to get it. We’ll be giving shots as quickly as we can.”
Trident Medical Center spokesman Rod Whiting said the “final touches” were being put into place for Trident’s vaccination plan Monday afternoon.
“The vaccine will be taken to staff and their respective work areas and be administered through a walk-in clinic as well,” he said. “The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has not notified Trident Health when it will receive its first shipment of the vaccine. In the meantime the hospital reports by the end of today nearly 50 patients will have received the COVID infusion therapy Bamlanivimab, which helps reduce the incidence of hospitalization due to COVID in high risk patients. At this time the therapy has a 96% success rate.”
East Cooper Medical spokesperson Daisy Burroughs released the following statement Monday afternoon about that facility’s vaccination plans:
We are working with our state and local leaders on plans to receive the vaccine as soon as it is available, and will be vaccinating eligible members of our staff in accordance with FDA, CDC, state, and local guidelines. We are hopeful that we will be able to immunize all healthcare workers working in areas that are high risk for COVID exposure in the first few weeks of immunizations. The most effective safety measures we can take against COVID-19 continues to be wearing a mask, washing our hands, and maintaining social distance.
Gov. Henry McMaster announced Monday morning that the state’s first doses of the vaccine arrived.
Meanwhile, Conway Medical Center officials said they received their first allocated dose sat 9 a.m. The first of that facility’s health care workers received their vaccines starting at 1 p.m.
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