Federal & SC officials transforming Columbia area mall parking lot into mass vaccination site

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RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WSPA) — Crews are setting up South Carolina’s first federally-supported, state-run mass vaccination site at Columbia Place Mall.

The site is expected to be up and running by April 14th and will administer 7,000 doses a week for 8 weeks.

DHEC said during a media briefing on vaccine rollout Friday this will help meet vaccine demand in the area.

DHEC Interim Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler said, “This federally supported but state run vaccination clinic will have a very significant impact on that community level to reduce the burden of COVID-19.”

Friday afternoon, crews were seen putting up tents and cones in the parking lot.

According to state health officials, the doses used at the site will be provided by the federal government and won’t be taken out of the state’s weekly allotment.

DHEC said vaccines given here will be available to anyone over the age of 16 (as of Friday afternoon, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one that has received emergency approval for people 16 and up).

The site will have the capacity to give 1,000 shots per day.

Dr. Traxler said this site was selected by officials due to the current vaccination rate and other factors in the community. She said, “It’s in a census tract with a social vulnerability index score of .9 with an SVI score of 1 meaning there’s a more vulnerable population.”

No word yet on if appointments will be required and the hours the site will be open.

DHEC said multiple agencies will be assisting at the location. “The vaccinators – the people who will be giving the vaccines will be employed by DHEC. But various entities are involved in helping run this event,” Dr. Traxler said.

According to DHEC, nearly 36% of the eligible population in South Carolina (anyone over 16) have gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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