Mount Pleasant leaders hopeful drive-thru clinic fast tracks vaccine delivery, serves as blueprint

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Mount Pleasant leaders used one of the largest centers in town, Seacoast Church to get vaccine doses out to people eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s the latest drive-thru vaccine clinic happening in the Lowcountry.

Leaders like US Congresswoman Nancy Mace and Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie watched first hand as officials provided vaccines to as many people as possible at the Mount Pleasant church on Friday. They are hopeful the vaccine clinic can be used as a blueprint for a return to normalcy.

“This is what light at the end of the tunnel, this long dark COVID-19 tunnel looks like,” says Mayor Haynie.

Over 1,000 vaccinations were administered at the clinic. Mayor Haynie says it makes up roughly one percent of the town’s population but he knows it’s a big first step towards a larger end goal.

“We are ready for this vaccine, we are ready to turn the corner in this long hard slog that we have been having against this virus,” says Mayor Haynie. “We’re ready to get life back to normal.”

The Medical University of South Carolina, Roper St. Francis Hospital, and East Cooper Medical Center, along with Lowcountry elected officials are all working to fast track delivery to those who need the vaccine most.

“Answering the call of duty to those who need it most, this is the best way we can help stem the tide of COVID-19 right now,” says Congresswoman Mace. “(It) is getting our most vulnerable populations vaccinated.”

Healthcare leaders hope to replicate drive-thru clinics to offer more vaccines in the coming weeks and months but are working out scheduling bugs on top of heavy demand.

“A third want to be vaccinated right away, a third want to wait four to six weeks and then a third are saying not right now, so we’re seeing this rush,” says Dr. Patrick Cawley, CEO at MUSC.

Mayor Haynie called in the help of an expert in the drive-thru field, a local Chick-Fil-A manager, who helped officials regulate traffic and make the process more efficient.

The cause is bringing leaders from all fields together in a way like never before to provide a long needed light at the end of a nearly year long tunnel.

“There was a great need in the community to have this available,” says Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Howard Chapman.

“But the way out of it is what you’re seeing today,” says Dr. Cawley. “You’re seeing a community come together to vaccinate very, very fast.”

Congresswoman Mace, Mayor Haynie and Dr. Cawley hope these initial drive-thru clinics can provide just enough light to create some hope.

“We’re going to be at this probably for the next 11 to 12 months and we’re going to have to keep this up,” says Dr. Cawley.

Those who received a vaccination at the drive-thru clinic today will have to return for their second dose on February 12th. Mayor Haynie says efforts to set up additional drive-thru clinics in the near future are currently in the works with local hospitals.