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Pharmacies working to vaccinate long-term care facility residents and staff

DHEC says all facilities will have had their first vaccine clinic by the end of January.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Long-term care facilities in South Carolina have partnered with CVS and Walgreens to get the Moderna vaccines for residents and staff. As of Wednesday night, only 21% of the Palmetto State’s allotment has been administered.

A total 117,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been received in South Carolina. All Moderna vaccines are reserved for long-term care facilities. According to DHEC, only 24,974 doses have been administered to residents and staff so far.

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"We partnered with CVS Pharmacies and it’s been going very well," said General Manager of Merrill Gardens Senior Living, Wilson Anhar. "We had our first dose on January 7. Our second dose is scheduled for February 5. We also have an additional day on March 5 for those who will be receiving their first dose on February 5."

Merrill Gardens in Columbia is a new senior living community that opened in July. They had 40 residents when CVS administered their first doses.

"I think it’s the first step," Anhar said. "Finally, we’re doing something about it and they just can’t wait to get their second dose."

Anhar said about 85% of their residents have received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine and he thinks they’ll be close to 100% vaccinated by March.

So, why are nearly 93,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine still sitting on pharmacy shelves?

DHEC's Interim Public Health Director, Brannon Traxler, explained it’s because the allocation includes second doses for every resident and staff member at all the facilities across South Carolina.

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"Unlike many other states, South Carolina immediately allocated to the long-term care facilities program the entire amount of doses that were going to be needed to ensure that every resident and staff member of the long-term care facilities were able to receive both doses of the vaccine," said Traxler.

She added that except for a handful of facilities, all assisted living facilities and nursing homes in South Carolina will have had their first vaccine clinic by the end of January.

According to DHEC's website, there are 770 vaccine clinics scheduled at long-term care facilities across the state. 

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