Prisma Health to use Greenville Co. CARES Act funds to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)–A vaccine for COVID-19 is on the horizon. Now the question is how will it be given out in our communities?

Greenville County has just awarded Prisma Health nearly $2-million to give out a COVID-19 vaccine not only in it’s brick and mortar locations, but also on the go.

“And really reach all parts of our community including the vulnerable populations or those who might not otherwise have access to care so we can make an equitable distribution of the vaccine when its available,” Dr. Kerry Sease with Prisma Health said.

Greenville county has approved funding to buy three mobile vaccination units for the hospital.

“With three units we’ll be able to go to multiple places in the county in one day rather than having to go and set up little different spots across,” Sease said.

The $1.8-million grant comes from the Greenville County CARES Act.

“We’ve always kept money aside because this is a very fluid situation, months ago it was all about recovery and now to some extent it’s about moving forward with covid as a reality as a long pandemic,” County spokesperson Bob Mihalic said.

Prisma plans to use the units to distribute hundreds of doses of vaccines to rural and underserved parts of the county.

“Getting out into the community has really increased testing, therefore it would make sense that getting out into the community to distribute the vaccine would be effective as well,” Mihalic said.

And the special vehicles are crucial to that goal.

“In order to carry the amount of vaccines that we’re talking about you need to have special refrigeration, medical grade refrigeration to be able to do that,” Sease said.

And although a timeline on the vaccine is vague, and will be distributed to high risk groups and health care workers first, Sease said once Prisma has it for public distribution they want to be ready.

“Once the vaccine is in our hands, transporting it onto these units is as simple as taking it out of one freezer and putting it into another and then we’re ready to go,” Sease said.

They’re hoping to get the first mobile unit by the end of the month. In the meantime, Sease wants to remind people, the pandemic is far from over.

“So it’s still really important that we do the other things like wear a mask, wash our hands, and stay physically distant unfortunately until we can get through all of this together,” Sease said.

Some of that money from the CARES Act will also go to protecting the vaccine while it’s in storage before it’s distributed to the community.

Greenville County has also approved an additional $3-million in CARES Act money for the hospitality industry. Applications for those funds are due by December 18th.

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