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HCS, Conway Medical Center strike COVID-19 vaccine partnership; timing unknown

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Conway Medical Center will handle teacher vaccines for Horry County Schools. File/Staff

CONWAY — As South Carolina legislators debate whether or not teachers should be moved into Phase 1A of the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s vaccine plan, Horry County Schools has announced a partnership with Conway Medical Center to administer the doses once available.

Velna Allen, the HCS director of student services, told the HCS Board of Education on Feb. 22 that the district had been in ongoing talks with CMC about the details of a potential vaccination plan, ultimately deciding that teachers will be inoculated in alphabetical order.

CMC will handle the registration and scheduling, while two sites will be used at the outset, with a potential third if there is enough supply on hand. Allen also said that weekend vaccinations are a possibility, attempting to help teachers avoid missing time in the classroom.

Brian Argo, chief financial officer at CMC, expressed excitement over the partnership, but pointed to something out of the medical facility’s control that could cause delays.

“At this time, our only limiting factor is supply. We are ready, willing, and able to administer the vaccines once the governor and DHEC expand eligibility to include these workers and procure enough vaccine doses for CMC to be able to provide them,” said Argo. “We will continue to work with Horry County Schools over the coming weeks to prepare for their mass vaccination plan.”

HCS currently is operating elementary schools at full-time, face-to-face, while three middle schools will begin to do so on Feb. 25.

The school district announced Feb. 22 that it intends to have all middle schools ready for face-to-face instruction by Feb. 26, while high schools have a tentative date of March 15, according to Daryl Brown, HCS chief officer of support services.

Reach Nick Masuda at 843-607-0912. Follow him on Twitter at @nickmasudaphoto. 

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