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Slow start in Sumter as those 16 and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in SC

Wednesday was the first day those 16 and older could be vaccinated in SC. While patients were steady, they came more slowly than expected.

SUMTER, S.C. — It was an exciting day at the Sumter County Civic Center for nurse Janet Tanner and others with Prisma Health as they prepared to vaccinate the greater community against the coronavirus.

Wednesday was the first day everyone 16 and older was eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in South Carolina.

“I think we all were looking forward to this day,” Tanner said, “the phase two opening up and the 16 and above being able to come, and I was hoping that we’d have a line out the door of people waiting to get the vaccination.”

While patients were steady, they came more slowly than expected, according to Tanner.

RELATED: Anyone 16 and up in South Carolina can now get the COVID vaccine

“I think probably the word isn’t out that the resource is available for this large of a group now,” Tanner said. “We have been allotted a lot of same day appointments now, so if…. they aren’t able to do MyChart and schedule an appointment or maybe they can’t get through to the call center line… they can come up here and we can give them a same day appointment.”

Same-day appointments are a perk Eartha English took advantage of when she arrived Wednesday with her son. With high risk of complications from the virus, she said she wanted to make sure he was vaccinated.

“I brought my son when I learned that the 16-year-old could have the vaccine, and I happened to be passing along and I saw where you could be a walk in,” English said. “So, I went back home to pick him up and I also made a few phone calls to see if everybody else could come because a lot of people do not know this is happening today.”

Credit: Kayland Hagwood
COVID-19 vaccine sign at Sumter County Civic Center site

RELATED: Vaccine providers notice more appointment openings

As more people get the shots, English, who’s already vaccinated, said she’s looking forward to the opportunity to gather with family again.

“The virus has not left us yet,” English said. “It is still here and it’s important for everyone to go ahead on and get the vaccine.”

The Sumter County Civic Center is located at 700 W. Liberty Street In Sumter. Same day appointments are based on vaccine availability; scheduling ahead is the most secure way to get vaccinated.

The Civic Center is one of several Prisma Health vaccine locations in The Midlands. To find a location near you visit Prisma Health online.

RELATED: How to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina