Lowcountry residents detail concerns about obtaining second COVID-19 dose

Arts and Culture

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A Lowcountry man is frustrated after he showed up for his second vaccine appointment only to be told no doses were available.

According to Clifton Atkinson, when he went in for his scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment, he left the Doctor’s Care of West Ashley office “shocked instead of shot” with his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Now, he’s wondering if this happened to him, how many others will have the same dilemma?

Even a day later, Atkinson remains disappointed that his promised second dose was unavailable to him. He said, “as an old person, I’ve got the old criteria of say what you mean, and mean what you say.”

He went on to note that if the Doctor’s Care knew they were not going to have a dose available or were unsure, they should not be telling the individuals they have one. Atkinson said he would have rather had them advise him to call the office ahead of his date to ensure the second dose was available. He said at least then he would know there’s a chance he may or may not get it.

However, telling someone to be back on a certain date and time leads patients to believe that when they come back on that date and it’s not ready, that they’ve been lied to.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said they were looking into the claim. They said in part, “our current recommendations continue to be to not use second doses as first doses; this ensures providers are using their second doses as just that: for ensuring they have enough second doses available…The exception is if a second-dose vial is open and there are remaining doses within the vial that would otherwise go to waste.”

The CDC, knowing vaccine supply would be an issue, released specific guidance that detailed how long one can go without a second dose. Dr. Robert Oliverio, the Chief Medical Officer of Ambulatory Care and Population Health said the guidance came as the realization hit that, “we might not be able to get the second dose in the time frame, but they really gave patients a window of up to 42 days to get their second dose.”

While it may seem like an extension, Dr. Oliverio said the quicker you can get your second dose the better. Although Roper St. Francis allocates their dose count by those who received their first shot, and ensuring a second dose will be set aside, not all do.

While Atkinson found a second route and dose through his primary care provider, Dr. Oliverio warns that for them, going elsewhere if your dose is delayed is not the ideal situation. At Roper St. Francis, Dr. Oliverio said, “an extra second dose I give, is a patient who did get the first dose with us who may not get a second dose.”

Although Dr. Oliverio acknowledged the issue of obtaining second doses, he said with the increase of vaccines bought by the government, supply will become more available.

News 2 reached out to Doctor’s Care for comment but did not hear back.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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