SPARTANBURG — The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine was recognized by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control for its efforts to provide vaccines to medically underserved communities across the Upstate.
VCOM received DHEC's COVID-19 Community Hero Award on Jan. 10 for administering vaccines through their COVID vaccination clinic and mobile medical unit. The mobile medical unit is an RV that has been converted into a medical facility.
“We are both humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Matthew Cannon, dean of VCOM’s Carolinas campus in Spartanburg. “This was certainly not something that was expected, but it was truly a testimony to our school's mission.”
In the spring of 2020, VCOM partnered with DHEC to hold school-based mobile vaccine clinics for rising sixth and seventh graders to ensure that they had all required vaccines to start school. The effort led to 18 mobile clinics and was a part of a pilot mobile vaccination program for the Cherokee County School District. Mobile COVID-19 vaccines were held at six locations across the Upstate, including at Tri-County Technical College and Dorman High School.
Throughout the pandemic, VCOM was able to administer routine vaccines for children — such as MMR, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and varicella — who were unable to visit a doctor. The medical school partnered with DHEC in 2021 to open a clinic in the Northside area of Spartanburg, which serves as a COVID-19 vaccine administration site across the street from VCOM.
“This has been a pleasure because this has really been truly a joint effort,” said Kandi Fredere, Upstate regional public health director for DHEC. “And everybody's been at the table really talking through, problem solving and thinking what works best for everybody involved.”