GEORGETOWN — With Georgetown County featuring plenty of rural area, the Smith Medical Center is eliminating multiple barriers in attempting to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all of those that want them — even if residents lack reliable transportation.
As of April 5, the medical center is offering free vaccinations, as well as transportation to appointments Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Though Smith Medical Center is calling its patients first, offering to set up vaccinations during their already scheduled appointments and offering them a ride if needed, the medical center will be registered with DHEC starting next week so anyone can get vaccinated at the Pawleys Island location.
Executive Director Anne Faul said Smith Medical Center has found a main reason its patients have not been vaccinated yet is because of a lack of transportation. Because of this, the medical center has been working with companies like Uber and Lyft to ensure people have as much help as possible.
"The other reason that we feel so strongly about the need for our clinic to have vaccines is that some people are a bit hesitant about getting the vaccine, and they've been coming here for years and they have a relationship with their doctor," Faul said. "There's that relationship of trust that I think is really important for our patients."
Though the clinic will be balancing the incoming appointments it gets from DHEC with the outgoing calls its workers make to patients, its priority will remain with its often underserved and overlooked patient base. Smith Medical Clinic also has been conducting Q&As with rural and minority communities in the county, Faul said, to address vaccination concerns and acquire accurate and scientific data from them.
To learn more about Smith Medical Clinic's vaccinations, visit smithfreeclinic.org or call 843-237-2672.