Lowcountry seniors struggle to get COVID-19 vaccine appointments

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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Frustration, confusion and questions are all mounting for people 70 and older eligible for vaccines who say they’re struggling to get appointments and even when they do, some of those appointments are getting canceled.

Harris Teeter and Publix are among many pop-up locations across the Lowcountry working to distribute vaccines. Other places, like assisted living facilities, are working to provide vaccines but efforts have come with headaches. People are hoping their parents can receive the vaccine any way possible.

Among those attempting to receive the vaccine at a pop-up location was Bobbi Jo Cordin’s mom who just turned 70-years-old and is ready to return to some normalcy.

“I promise her that if we got the vaccine today she would get to go to Goodwill for a few minutes,” says Cordin. “She’s been dying to get out and just look around.”

A desperate sense for a return to normalcy, at Summerville Estates, an assisted living facility, Michael Higgins says his mom was scheduled to receive a vaccine at the facility but will no longer get the shot because of a cancellation. Higgins is not searching for another way to get her vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“I’m fearful for her, you know I’m really concerned,” says Higgins.

Higgins’ mom who is 88-years-old living in the Summerville facility was recently told she would no longer receive the vaccine by management.

“I’ve got to find a place to take her to at 88-years-old in the public to get vaccinated,” says Higgins.

Officials with the facility confirmed it had been previously approved to receive doses, but then was pulled from the approved list. The facility applied for 6,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in October, was notified they had been approved but found out on January 15th they would no longer receive them.

“Right now, that’s where the problem is,” says Higgins. “The CDC, if this is actually true is at fault. I mean it’s square on their shoulders.”

Other places are trying their hand at vaccine distribution. Harris Teeter is providing vaccines by appointment only .But Cordin says it’s been a nightmare experience trying to get her mother scheduled.

“There’s so much confusion,” says Cordin. “Nobody knew where to go, who to talk to, how to get signed in, (or) who to give their information to.”

Waiting for hours at the Dorchester Road Harris Teeter on Thursday, Cordin says more than fifty people waiting to receive a vaccine were packed in a tight area frustrated.

“They asked to speak to a manager, the manager came out and got very irate, got very upset and told everybody pretty much just deal with it or go home,” says Cordin of the experience.

Desperate and confused, making a strong plea calling on leaders to get it right so those most in need can return to a normal life sooner rather than later.

“I really hope Governor McMaster is going to check in on this and find out what’s going on because this is certainly not right for our senior citizens,” says Higgins.

Officials from the assisted living facility say the reason they were given for being taken off the list to receive vaccine is because they are a private facility.

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