In order to provide COVID-19 vaccines faster to community members, Prisma Health announced on Wednesday, Jan. 20, that the health system will provide assistance to those 70 and older who may have difficulty signing up on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine appointment website, VAMS.
Prisma recently opened two large-scale COVID-19 vaccination sites — one in Greenville and a second in Columbia. The Greenville site is at Kmart Plaza in the former Kmart building, near the Greenville Memorial Hospital campus.
“We finally have a tool in the vaccine where we can come out fighting and, finally, I think, turn the tide on this disease,” said Dr. Rick Scott, co-chair of Prisma Health’s vaccine task force at a news conference on Wednesday. “We’re far from out of it yet. Our facilities are literally filled with patients from the last surge. But right now, our main goal is to deliver as much vaccine as we can, and it truly is all hands on deck.”
Scott said that as of Jan. 19, Prisma had delivered more than 42,000 doses of the vaccine, including 6,600 doses on Jan. 18.
Prisma officials said assistance will be provided by Prisma team members for people who have little or no access to an email or a mobile phone. Scott said Prisma will have laptops available for individuals to use at the vaccine locations.
That assistance will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. Officials said scheduled appointments will take priority and cautioned that there may be lines for help.
“The goal is to get the vaccine into the arms of those who need it, and we acknowledge that there are a number of people that don’t have email access or maybe aren’t computer savvy and maybe don’t have a family member living in the same home with them that can help,” said Scott. “I would say to date somewhere between a third of our patients are coming in needing that kind of additional assistance.”
Scott said the vaccination sites will also assist those who may need physical assistance — for example, if the patient is a walker or wheelchair.
The health system is the largest vaccine provider currently in the state, according to Scott. Health officials are creating a toolkit to share with local community organizations to have them assist in registering adults for the vaccine.
“We are extremely pleased in the interest in our community for individuals age 70+ in the COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Dr. Saria Saccocio, chief ambulatory medical officer for Prisma Health and co-chair of its COVID-19 Task Force, in a release. “We continue to fine-tune our processes to accommodate as many of our senior citizens who need assistance in scheduling their vaccine appointments, as well as those with confirmed appointments.”
Prisma vaccination site in Greenville: 1 Kmart Plaza, Greenville, SC 29605 (near Greenville Memorial Hospital). The vaccination site, located inside the former Kmart building, is open Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Find out more about COVID-19 and the vaccination: https://scdhec.gov/covid19