SC’s first federally-supported mass vaccination site opens to the public


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) — Tuesday morning, Lakisha Brown decided she would sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

Brown lives in northeast Columbia. When she heard about a mass vaccination site coming to the Columbia Place Mall, she wanted to check it out for herself.

“To actually see this is joy, and to know there is some type of relief,” she said.

While speaking with us in the mall parking lot, Brown locked in an appointment for Tuesday afternoon.

Brown admits she was a little hesitant when she became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. She said she wanted to wait and see how her friends and family would react to getting the shot.

She got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Brown is one of the dozens who received a vaccine during the soft opening of the state’s first federally supported mass vaccination site. The site has the capacity of giving 1,000 shots a day or 7,000 a week.

“I do hope a lot of people will take advantage of it,” Brown said, adding, “however, you still have a lot out there who have questions.”

The site is supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and run by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the South Carolina Emergency Management Division with help from the South Carolina National Guard and Richland County.

Officials said about 150 people will be working at the site, which offers a drive-thru vaccination area and an indoor area.

DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer said this community vaccination site will help them reach at-risk communities.

“There are lots of people, if we don’t come to them, they won’t be able to get the vaccine,” he went on to say, “We’re really focusing on access.”

He said hesitancy could certainly be an issue as well. He’s hopeful 1,000 vaccine appointments will be scheduled per day.

Simmer also added the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause should not have an impact on the site. They are planning on giving first doses and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine the first six weeks the site is operational.

Brown said if anyone is on the fence about getting a vaccine — they should seek out accurate information about it.

“I would encourage to do your research, and if you still have questions, turn to your physician,” she said.

The site will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day for the next eight weeks. For information on appointments for this site click or tap here.

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