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Some Aiken residents have issues with scheduling second vaccine dose

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As the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out across South Carolina, some Aiken residents have reported issues with scheduling appointments for their second dose.

Both the Moderna and the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. The Pfizer doses must be separated by an interval of 21 days, while the Moderna doses must be separated by an interval of 28 days.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control says that providers are supposed to schedule a patient's second dose at the time of the patient's first dose. However, this has not always been happening, according to some residents.

Pat Andringa is one such residents. Andringa said she and her husband got their first vaccine doses at the Doctors Care at Aiken Mall. After receiving the shot, she said she was given a card, telling her when the second dose should be given. She assumed this meant the second dose was scheduled for that day.

Later on, Andringa noticed there wasn't a time on the card. She said she went back to Doctors Care and was told that she would have to go through the online appointment process again to schedule her second shot.

"So, we were a bit discouraged when we heard that," Andringa said. "We thought we had an appointment for a shot."

Andringa said she's spoken with other residents, and some of them have had the same problem at Doctors Care. Many of these residents have posted their frustrations on social media.

"This is going to grow," Andringa said. "There’s going to be a lot of very unhappy people."

Phyllis Britt, another Aiken resident, said she and her husband scheduled their vaccine appointments through MUSC at a Columbia site. Britt said she automatically received a link to schedule a second dose once her first dose was on the books. So, she was able to schedule both appointments from the outset.

"It was no problem," Britt wrote in an email. "I don’t understand why all the vaccine providers aren’t doing that."

DHEC said it has reminded providers to schedule second doses for residents when they receive their first dose. There is no maximum interval between the first and second doses, according to DHEC's website. So, a person's first dose will not be "wasted" if more time passes between doses than is recommended.

South Carolina ranks last among the 50 states in amount of vaccines distributed per capita.

DHEC confirmed 96 new COVID-19 cases and one coronavirus-related death in Aiken County on Tuesday. The death occurred Jan. 16, and the victim was elderly.

DHEC confirmed a total of 2,570 cases and 11 deaths across the state Tuesday.

The data reported Tuesday is for the date of Jan. 17.

Tuesday's report brings the total confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in Aiken County to 9,619, with 132 coronavirus-related deaths.

Aiken County also has reported a total of 1,761 probable COVID-19 cases and 22 probable coronavirus-related deaths.

In neighboring Barnwell and Edgefield counties, 16 and 12 virus cases were confirmed, respectively, on Tuesday.

According to DHEC's acute hospital bed occupancy report, Aiken County hospitals are at 87.1% occupancy. There are 135 beds occupied, while there are 20 beds open. Across the entire state, there are 2,353 COVID-19 patients hospitalized.

The total number of individual test results reported to DHEC statewide Tuesday was 10,773, and the percent positive was 23.9%.

The total number of cases statewide is now 357,508, with 36,810 probable cases, 5,673 confirmed deaths and 586 probable deaths.

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