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Calhoun County EMS hopes to become vaccine provider to help community

As of last check, 1,390 people in Calhoun County received their vaccination according to the state health officials.

CALHOUN COUNTY, S.C. — Calhoun County is a community some local leaders believe needs more places for the community to have access to the shots.

"It's coming along, it's just been slow," EMS Director Crystal Youmans said.

RELATED: Vaccine supply limited in Calhoun County

As of last check,1,390 people in Calhoun County received their vaccination according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

There are currently only two providers located inside county lines. Because of that, Youmans wants to see things changed so they can help distribute the vaccine.

"We want to get activated," Youmans said. "We're local, we know a lot of the people from transporting them or running into them in the community, so we know them and the council works with us so they could help push people in our direction, and just to be able to help and anything we can do to slow this pandemic down."

Youmans said they are just waiting for the final green light from DHEC and that they are prepared and ready to start receiving vaccines.

"We know that there's not a whole lot of resources in Calhoun County that has been able to get the vaccine," Youmans said.

County Councilman John Nelson agrees.

"We felt like at the local level we know where those pockets of people are where people don't know how to get on a computer or have an email address and we felt like we could really fill a gap because we're local, we know our folks, we know the ones who really need to be taken care of," Nelson said.

DHEC said only two EMS departments in the state are activated and providers are given the OK based on current vaccine availability within the state, demand and county population.

So until then, the county is working with the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg for a vaccine clinic. Their goal for Wednesday was to vaccinate 500 people. 

"It's imperative to us in this battle with pandemic trying to make it as easy as we possibly can for the population to community that we serve to receive the vaccine," said. "People have been waiting for months since the vaccine has been out now in order to get it, so typically people are over joyed and ever more excited to get their second dose."

Those who received their shot at the Calhoun County clinic were excited.

"I think it will free me from all this, that's what I think will happen," said.

Youmans said her department heard from DHEC saying the should be getting activated during the week of March 22.

RELATED: Johnson and Johnson vaccine helping smaller, rural towns like Elloree