Da’Vette Peoples

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — As South Carolina entered phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan, the state expanded vaccination eligibility to anyone 55 years or older and essential workers, including school staff and government employees, which covered faculty and staff at Winthrop University and York Technical College.

Employees at the two schools were notified March 2 that they were eligible to make an appointment to receive the Pfizer vaccine at the Rock Hill Galleria mall.

Larry Stevens, an assistant professor of business administration at Winthrop, said the process to sign up was simple.

“They had us do a survey to see if we were actually interested in getting the vaccine, then we had to wait our turn,” said Stevens. “Once they sent an email saying follow this process and sign up, that’s what I did and I was able to get the vaccine.”

The vaccine clinic at the Galleria is usually open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and with more people eligible for vaccination, lines could be seen as people waited for their turn.

“I was impressed with the process. When you first drive up, you see this long line and you get overwhelmed like oh my gosh, this is going to take forever but they have it functioning like a well-oiled machine,” said Edwina Roseboro-Barnes, vice president of administrations at York Tech.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses to be administered, at least weeks apart, for it to be fully effective.

Stevens said he experienced minimal side-effects after receiving both doses.

“The first shot my arm was sore the next day. The second shot my arm was extra sore the same day and I was tired,” said Stevens.

While some have reported more severe reactions to vaccination, Roseboro-Barnes said she still thinks it’s the responsible thing to do.

“Making the decision to get the vaccination is a personal choice, however, I think people need to recognize that if they choose not to receive it, they’re putting themselves and others at risk, particularly if they’re not doing other things to ensure safety,” said Roseboro-Barnes.

It’s estimated that roughly 40 percent of those who have been vaccinated in York County have received the vaccine at the Rock Hill Galleria.

The site administered roughly 500 doses per day when it first opened in January, but is now vaccinating more than 1,000 people daily.

South Carolina moved to phase 2 of its vaccination plan March 31, making all residents age 16 and older eligible to receive the vaccine.