Are you having trouble scheduling a Covid-19 Vaccine in South Carolina for yourself or a family member? When South Carolina moved to the 1B vaccine group, many more people became eligible to receive the vaccine, making appointments hard to find. But, it can be done! We have some tips that have worked for our team members, readers, and family in this second phase of vaccine distribution in South Carolina.
Disclaimer: This list is for informational purposes only. It is not medical advice. It is not recommending any vaccine providers. Health advice should come from your doctor.
South Carolina is Now in Phase 1B for Covid Vaccines
You can find a complete list of who is included in Phase 1B on the DHEC Covid vaccine website. But in general, the phase includes:
- Anyone 55 and older
- People with medical conditions that may put them at risk for complications if they were infected with Covid-19
- Teachers and daycare workers
- Anyone working at a place of employment with exposure to other people, less than 6 feet away for more than 15 minutes at a time.
- Those living and working in residential facilities and group homes
- Anyone in Phase 1A who has not yet been vaccinated
Vaccines Available in South Carolina
Which Covid-19 vaccine should you get? Doctors indicate in most instances people should get the first vaccine first available to them and not wait for a specific brand.
Tips: Find a Covid-19 Vaccine Appointment in South Carolina
Please remember that these tips are for people in the phase 1B vaccination group, currently. DHEC has asked people to abide by this phase on the honor system.
Use These Websites to Help Find Available Appointments for a Covid-19 Vaccine
There are several websites where you can search by zip code and city, state for providers with the available vaccines.
DHEC has a Vaccine Locator Website. It displays which providers near you currently have vaccines. However, because the status is changing so quickly, don’t consider each provider’s status to be accurate. Rather, it is a good starting point for pharmacies and vaccination centers to contact.
Vaccine Finder is from the CDC and run by Boston Children’s Hospital. You can also sort by zip code or city, state. Interestingly, the results on Vaccine Finder and the DHEC’s Vaccine Locator are far from identical. Again, use this as a good starting point.
Dr. B is an online registry to be notified of leftover COVID vaccines in your area. The platform will text you when a dose becomes available, and you will have a time frame to accept the dose and arrive at the location.
Find Out When Pharmacies and Vaccination Sites Open Up Additional Appointments
If there is a specific venue where you would like to receive your vaccination, try to find out when that venue opens new appointments. Each venue is different. For example, we’ve heard reports that people have been successful in scheduling appointments at CVS via their online scheduling by logging in Sunday night/Monday morning at about midnight. Others have said that Publix opens new appointments on Wednesday and Friday morning.
Check Nearby Pharmacies for Cancelations and Extra Vaccine
Once the vaccines have been removed from storage and brought to room temperature, they must be used. So, if someone does not show up for their vaccine appointment, the pharmacy may have extra to use at the end of the day. Call the pharmacies that are nearby in the late afternoon and see if they have any extra vaccine doses available.
If you have a pharmacy that you use regularly, be sure to ask when you are picking up prescriptions. It may be that they have extra doses from canceled appointments that day and will be able to give you your vaccine right away.
Don’t Overlook Local, Independent Pharmacies
It’s not just the chain pharmacies that are vaccinating people. Local, independent pharmacies are doing their part, too. Because they often do not have much of a web presence or offer online scheduling, many people seeking vaccines are passing them over. Don’t. Call them and ask about scheduling an appointment. You just might find your new favorite pharmacy while you’re getting vaccinated. There are several listed on the Vaccine Finder website.
Don’t Be Afraid to Call and Talk to a Real Person
Be kind, be patient, be polite. But, don’t be afraid to keep pushing “0” in an automated system to get to a real person. Some of the online sign-up systems are overloaded and malfunctioning. Just like calling to see if there are extra doses available, it won’t hurt to call and ask a real person about available appointments. They just might be able to give you some additional tips to help you get something scheduled.
Please remember that these folks are working very hard! I asked a pharmacy tech that I called at a local Walgreens whether or not calling every few days in the afternoon was super annoying for them. I was told, “not at all.” They want to help as much as they can. But, if you get someone on the phone who seems overwhelmed or asks you to use whatever system they have in place rather than calling, don’t forget to thank and encourage them!
While You Wait, Get Outdoors and Enjoy Spring!
While you wait for your appointment, get outdoors and enjoy the South Carolina spring! Our spring guide is loaded with things to do this spring. You’ll find links to our hiking guide, places to bike, parks, gardens, free things to do and a lot more!
Have a tip to share that might help someone find a Covid-19 vaccine appointment? Let us know so we can share them!