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DHEC offers tips on scheduling 2nd vaccine dose as SC cases and hospitalizations slow

After a holiday surge in COVID-19 cases, DHEC offered some promising news Monday and provided tips for locals struggling to schedule a second COVID-19 vaccine.

It takes two shots to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, but getting both has been a challenging feat for some.

The State Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is hoping to make the process a little simpler by offering tips on how to schedule the second dose.

According to the agency:

  • Make an appointment with a vaccine provider to guarantee you’ll receive your shot.
  • You need to make two appointments, one for each shot.
  • You should make your appointment for your second shot at the same location where you receive your first one.
  • Make your second appointment while you’re at your first appointment, no later. Don’t leave your first appointment without knowing how and when you’ll get your second shot.
  • Until more vaccine is available, some appointments may need to be rescheduled for a later date if a provider runs out of vaccine. Providers will contact people directly if they need to reschedule an appointment.
  • If you need to reschedule an appointment, remember to cancel your initial appointment.

RELATED: How to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina if you're over 70

Some people have reported challenges scheduling a second appointment following a January 15 DHEC pop-up vaccination clinic at the state fairgrounds. 

The agency tells New19, they will be calling everyone tested at that clinic to schedule their second doses. Those people should expect a call this week, according to DHEC.

News19 also reached out to Prisma Health about challenges some people are having getting the second dose through that provider, and are waiting to hear back.

One of their concerns, however, was confusion over using the online federal Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) to schedule a second appointment.

DHEC’s Interim Director of Public Health Dr. Brannon Traxler offered the following advice to those with challenges navigating the system.

“If people are having difficulty with the VAMS and with scheduling their appointment on there. Then we really encourage them to reach out to that vaccine provider where they got that first dose and ask for some assistance,” Dr. Traxler said, “and we’re really encouraging those vaccine providers, first of all, to provide their second dose appointment when people are leaving their first dose, but also if people have already received their first dose, to work with them to help get them in to receive their first dose on time.”

RELATED: DHEC new ‘one-stop shop’ vaccine scheduling service to come online as early as this week

Dr. Traxler also shared some promising news in the state’s fight against COVID-19.

Credit: WLTX
SC COVID-19 Cases 1/25/2020

“Now that we’re several weeks passed the holiday season, I am happy to say that our deaths, cases and hospitalizations are no longer increasing,” Dr. Traxler said. “Although, I’m not confident in saying they’re decreasing either. We’re seeing a small plateau for the last week or two. This moment could be a turning point for our state if we could muster up the dedication to continue to do what’s right for a few more months. Give these vaccines and others more time to get out there. We could beat COVID-19 as quickly as vaccine production at least allows us to.”

While the state’s vaccine supply remains limited, Dr. Traxler asks for patience, adding that a new phone and online scheduling system could be available sometime this week.

RELATED: SC couple struggles with scheduling their second dose of the COVID19 vaccine

To find a location near you that's accepting vaccine appointments, visit DHEC's locator map at scdhec.gov/vaxlocator. You can also call DHEC’s Care Line at 1-855-472-3432 for help from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.