CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – You no longer need to schedule an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Roper St. Francis Express Care facilities.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare announced Wednesday that all five of its express care centers are now accepting walk-in patients who are looking to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Any patient who is 12 or older can visit one of the local offices from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. to get their two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
“Our Express Cares are experiencing higher than normal wait times as a result of the surge of COVID-19 cases in the Lowcountry, so we ask for your patience if you had a scheduled appointment,” said Robert Briggs, a spokesman for Roper St. Francis Healthcare.
Doctors and officials say Roper’s goal is to make vaccines as accessible as possible for those looking to get a shot as cases continue to trend upwards.
“We’re under siege,” says Dr. Robert Oliverio, Chief Medical Officer of Ambulatory Care and Population Health for Roper St. Francis. “COVID-19 is a war and right now COVID seems to be winning a little bit.”
New COVIDD-19 case numbers surging pushing hospitals and urgent care centers to their limit. Roper officials say they are focusing on making vaccines as accessible as possible.
“Our best defense, our best weapon against this virus to fight this war is the vaccine,” says Dr. Oliverio.
Dr. Oliverio says Roper is also preparing for COVID-19 booster shots to those who have already been vaccinated. Those who have received either a Pfizer or Moderna shot could be eligible as early as September if it’s been eight months after their initial vaccination. A booster shot has not yet been approved for the Johnson & Johnson version.
“Those are going to be important to get booster shots to make sure that immunity goes from maybe 50% back up to 70, 80%,” says Dr. Oliverio.
It’s a race against the surge to get booster shots approved and distributed across the Lowcountry and beyond with nearly every state across the country experiencing a rise in cases.
“We’ve purchased enough vaccine and vaccine supplies so that when you’re eight-month mark comes up, you’ll be ready to get your booster shot free,” says President Joe Biden during remarks delivered on Wednesday. “We have it available.”
Health officials say they anticipate booster shots to be approved sometime in mid September. It’s unclear if there will be a phased rollout of the booster or if it will be available for all who have been vaccinated.
Roper Express Care offices are located on Folly Road on James Island, University Boulevard in North Charleston, North Main Street in Summerville, Ladson Road in Summerville and West Ashley Circle in West Ashley.
In addition to offering the vaccine, Briggs said Roper’s Express Care facilities can also treat most minor injuries or illnesses, like cold or flu symptoms, sore throats, sinus infections, earaches, and minor cuts.