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Prisma Health officials, Columbia Mayor discuss COVID-19 and vaccine

Prisma Health has given more than 22,000 vaccinations and have appointments filled for several weeks.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Prisma Health is one of the places in the Midlands that will be aiding in vaccinating people over 70. 

On Wednesday, Prisma Health officials met with the Columbia Mayor to discuss the COVID-19 surge and vaccine.

Hospitals are hitting new highs for COVID-19 patients and positive percentages of tests are nearing records. Health officials say the vaccine continues to be sign of hope but people need to continue to be patient.

RELATED: Healthcare workers hopeful as COVID-19 vaccine is distributed

"The limiting factor today is the number of doses we receive," Prisma Health President and CEO Mark O'Halla said. "We have expanded capacity, so can every other health care provider, so can DHEC, but at the end of the day if we don't get larger quantity of the vaccine into the state, having the additional capacity is not going to help us speed up vaccinating or speed up more people."

RELATED: How to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations for those age 70 and older in South Carolina

So far, O'Halla said Prisma Health has given more than 22,000 vaccinations and have appointments filled for several weeks. He also notes 50% of their team has been vaccinated.

"South Carolina is currently receiving approximately 64,000 doses of vaccine each week from the federal government to distribute across the state," O'Halla said. "South Carolina has approximately 5 million people and if everyone decides to get the vaccine, which we hope will happen, we're going to need 10 million total doses in order to get everyone in the state vaccinated with their two shots."

According to Prisma, to keep up with the demand for patients, they are getting ready to open a unit with additional beds in Laurens County. 

"This is the likes of which something we've never seen whether it's here in South Carolina or across the country or the world, but this is what we trained for this is what we do," O'Halla said. "We are managing through it and we've been able to stay one step ahead of it to this point in time."

Prisma said of the 22,000 vaccines they have administered, there have been three moderate reactions and zero severe reactions.