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COVID-19 vaccines and testing is FREE: A list of upcoming clinics

Lexington Medical Center adds Sunday hours; Most places do not require appointments for testing or vaccines

COLUMBIA, S.C. — On Friday, August 6, South Carolina health officials reported 3,236 cases of COVID-19 in the state -- the first time since February 12 that the state has recorded more than 3,000 new cases in a single day.

Because of the increase in cases, Prisma Health and Lexington Medical Center are once again restricting visitation and adding safety protocols within their hospital and care systems.

Doctors have said that the Delta variant of the virus is fueling the increase in cases as this new strain is easier to spread. Medical professionals -- and even South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster -- are urging people to get vaccinated as the best way to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Many locations across the state have free vaccinations available for ages 12 years and up. DHEC's COVID-19 information page has a link to information about the three vaccines available -- Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen, J&J) -- and where to get vaccinated.

The J&J vaccine is a single dose shot, safe for those 18 and up; the Pfizer is a two-dose vaccine requiring a second shot within 21 days and is safe for ages 12 and older; the Moderna is also a two-dose vaccine, requiring a second shot within 28 days and is safe for those age 18 and up. For those choosing the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, make sure you schedule your second dose at the time you receive your first shot.

UPCOMING COVID-19 CLINICS:

City of Columbia and DHEC will host free vaccination clinics 1-5 p.m. at the following locations. No appointment is needed and all three vaccines will be available.

  • Wednesday, August 11, at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 2300 Greene St. in Five Points
  • Tuesday, August 24, Melrose Park, 1500 Fairview Drive
  • Wednesday, August 25, Woodland Park, 6500 Olde Knight Parkway

Health Force LLC will be offering free COVID-10 testing and vaccinations 8 a.m. to noon and 2-6 p.m. through Thursday, August 12, at COMET Central, 1727 Sumter St. in Columbia. All three vaccines will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lexington Medical Center, at 139 Summerplace Drive in West Columbia, provides all three vaccine options 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8-11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and drive-through testing 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Individuals age 12 years and up are eligible for vaccinations, those age 12-15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Walk-ins are welcome for the vaccine, but appointments are encouraged. Visit LexMed.com/covid to schedule an appointment

Free vaccines can be found at most local pharmacies -- CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Publix and Sam's Club locations included -- and you cannot be turned away for lack of insurance. Check DHEC's Vaccine Locator for a site near you.

Self-test COVID-19 kits are available from the Richland County Health Department at 2000 Hampton Street, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.