Problems emerge in vaccine registration for South Carolinians over 70

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians 70-years-old and up can now sign up to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Some say the process has been smooth, while others say they’ve been left out in the dark searching for answers.

Many say they were eager to have the opportunity to get the vaccine after months of staying home and away from large crowds. But some say they had trouble signing up for a COVID-19 vaccine while others say they’ve spent hours on the phone and still haven’t been able to schedule an appointment. Others were able to make an appointment first thing in the morning.

“Got mine done, did my wife’s so we’re both ready to go,” says P.J. Ryal who logged on to make is appointment at 4 in the morning. Others haven’t been as lucky.

“I called DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control), I got nothing,” says Catherine Dawson.

Stories from those unable to book an appointment once the window opened are similar across the board.

“I’ve been on the phone for two hours, two straight hours,” says Maxine Stoney.

Stoney says she never talked to a representative during the two hours before being hung-up on.

“I am outraged and I am disgusted at this because they knew in the first place that they we’re going to have an abundance of calls,” says Stoney.

Dawson was equally frustrated with the lack of guidance.

“This is very frustrating for seniors who are supposed to get this,” says Dawson. “They are telling us to get the shot but nobody is helping us.”

While some were left with questions and frustrations, Ryal says he was able to make the appointment with MUSC with no issues at all. He got up early to make sure he could book an appointment by going online.

“It was very easy and I am an ‘add to the cart’ kind of guy anyway, so it was very reminiscent of [online] Christmas shopping,” says Ryal.

Despite the easy process, Ryal says the wait time is a downside.

“I’m surprised that it takes that long to get there, but we have all learned in the last thirteen months not to be surprised at anything,” says Ryal.

Officials say those looking to schedule an appointment for a vaccine experiencing issues should continue to call the DHEC Cares Line or try online.