Beaufort Memorial director of security Doug Rhodin receives his COVID-19 vaccination recently from BMH nurse practitioner Jaime Cuff.

Last week Gov. Henry McMaster announced that residents ages 70 and older can now schedule their vaccination appointments, along with the remaining Phase 1a-eligible residents who plan to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Beaufort Memorial is one of the Bluffton-area locations administering the vaccine, both at the hospital’s Beaufort Medical Plaza in Beaufort and the Okatie Medical Pavilion, adjacent to Sun City. For those interested in registering through Beaufort Memorial to receive the vaccine, here are some recommendations to make the process easier to navigate:

DO:

Verify your eligibility for vaccination. A detailed list of Phase 1a-eligible residents can be found on the South Carolina DHEC website at scdhec.gov. These guidelines change frequently, so check back regularly if you are not currently eligible.

Choose one of three options to register with Beaufort Memorial to schedule your appointment:

Register online at BeaufortMemorial.org/vaccine. Complete the online form and receive a confirmation email with further instructions. A second email will be sent from the CDC Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) within 24 to 48 hours with a link to schedule an appointment. 

Call the Beaufort Memorial Vaccine Call Center at 843-522-5670. Eligible residents can call to provide their information Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After business hours calls will roll to voicemail and be returned the next day.

Email the required information to vaccine@bmhsc.org. Include first and last name; email address (every registrant must have a unique email address to be registered in the VAMS portal as that is used as an individual identifier); date of birth; phone number. The BMH team will upload eligible participants’ information daily to VAMS, which will generate an email from the CDC within 24 to 48 hours with a link to schedule an appointment.

Be patient. Directives from both the state and the CDC are updated frequently. Staff are doing their best to accommodate eligible residents as quickly as possible within the guidelines. While the hospital expects to receive weekly shipments of vaccines from the state and, eventually, directly from Pfizer, it is not able to guarantee the timing or quantity of available vaccines. 

DON’T:

• Call the main hospital or a BMH physician practice. They do not have the ability to process your information or schedule an appointment.

• Show up without an appointment. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated.

• Share your appointment link with multiple people. Once an email is used in the system, it cannot be used again.

• Attempt to schedule appointments at multiple vaccine sites. This will cause an undue administrative burden on staff who are trying to use resources as effectively as possible.

• Expect to receive the vaccine immediately. While you are now able to schedule an appointment, the first available appointments might not be until February or March.

Ashley Hildreth, RN is the Patient Safety Officer at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.