Your Health and Safety Remain Our #1 Priority
Updated January 13, 2021
Thank you for your interest in receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.
KershawHealth has received and is processing more than 1000 requests for COVID-19 vaccination within the past 48 hours. We are receiving between 150-200 vaccines each week from DHEC, which means it will take at least 10 weeks just to provide both required doses to those already in process.
Until we can receive additional vaccine and increase our appointments, we are no longer accepting additional requests.
Please do not call our hospitals or physicians’ offices to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination. Appointments will become available for scheduling at the time we receive additional vaccine, and we will widely publicize that we are accepting additional registrations for the vaccine at that time.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How will I know if my information was received and is in process?
Q: What other alternatives do I have for getting the vaccine?
A: It is our understanding that DHEC will open its statewide vaccine registration portal on Friday. This may be the best option for registering for the vaccine after Friday.
We will continue to share updates as they become available.
Frequently Asked Questions for Patients
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ-
We know there are a lot of questions about the emerging COVID-19 vaccines. Our goal is to keep you informed as vaccines are approved and rolled out for our workforce, patients and community in the weeks ahead.
We have created a list of common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines based on current knowledge and understanding. These questions will continue to evolve with time, so we encourage you to check back frequently for the most up-to-date information.
Common Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines:
- Who is currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? When will it be available to the general public?
We are in the process of distributing the vaccine in accordance with prioritization guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal government and our state health departments. Vaccine administration has begun with our frontline healthcare workers. As soon as the vaccine becomes more broadly available, we strongly encourage our community to get vaccinated.
- The vaccine was produced very quickly. How do I know it is safe?
The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is the top priority while federal partners work to make the COVID-19 vaccines. Despite what the name may suggest, “Operation Warp Speed” does not mean that manufacturers were able to skip steps or cut corners in the vaccine development process. Instead, after development of the vaccine, manufacturers took a secured risk and overlapped the study, manufacturing and distribution phases. The FDA committed to giving these vaccinations priority (not rushed) review at all phases of the studies, which helped speed up the overall process. Ongoing monitoring of vaccine effectiveness and side effect reports will continue to be evaluated by the FDA and the manufacturers.
- If I get the COVID-19 vaccine, should I still wear a mask?
Yes. For several reasons, a mask and other proven methods of preventing COVID-19 (hand hygiene and social distancing) are still important even after receiving the vaccine. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
- If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available?
Yes. At this time, the vaccine is recommended even if you previously tested positive for COVID-19. There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. More information will be shared as it becomes available.
Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people who have had COVID-19 greater than 90 days ago should proceed with getting the vaccine. Due to limited vaccine supply, if you have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days, your likelihood of reinfection is low enough during this time period that you can wait to get the vaccine until you hit the 90-day mark after being sick.
- Can you contract COVID-19 by getting the vaccine?
No. The vaccine is NOT a live vaccine, and it is NOT possible to contract COVID-19 from receiving the vaccine. Some people experience side effects from the vaccine, such as headache, muscle pain, or fever – but that does not mean you have COVID-19. It means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus, which is a good thing.
- What are the possible side effects/adverse events from the COVID-19 vaccine?
The most common adverse reactions reported have been fatigue, headache, fever/chills and joint pain. This means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus.
You can read more in Pfizer’s FDA Briefing Document about the side effects reported among the vaccine study participants. INSERT MODERNA LINK, ONCE AVAILABLE.
- Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered to children?
The COVID-19 vaccine is not indicated for children younger than 16 years old at this time.
- Can the COVID-19 vaccine be administered to pregnant women?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals. It is important to note that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available have not been tested in pregnant women, so there is no safety data specific to use in pregnancy. Pregnant women should make an informed decision after discussing with their healthcare provider.
- How many doses are required? If multiple, when do I get another dose?
For both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, two doses are required. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be administered 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be administered 28 days after the first dose. It is very important to note that the second dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first dose.
- What should I do if I am unable to get the second dose exactly 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna) after the first dose?
While it is recommended that you receive the second dose as soon as feasible after day 21 or day 28, we understand that it might not be possible to receive it on the desired date. This could be due to multiple reasons. Please keep the following in mind if you cannot receive the second vaccine dose on the desired date:
- You must receive the second dose from the same manufacturer as the first dose.
- Get the second dose as soon as possible after the desired date has passed, as it is better to get the second dose late than not at all. You will still experience the same efficacy in the long run, although you may not see the full effect of the immunity until a few weeks after the second dose.
- How long after receiving both doses of the vaccine until it is considered effective?
Similar to the flu vaccine, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. As a general rule, the vaccine is considered effective about two weeks after the seconddose, according to the manufacturers. There is evidence that the first dose will begin providing some immunity, but it is still very important to receive the second dose for optimal results.
- Can I choose which vaccine I get (Pfizer or Moderna)?
We do not recommend waiting for a specific manufacturer. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have similar efficacy and potential side effects, and have shown decreased disease severity in the small numbers of study participants who contracted COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine. Both manufacturers require two doses. It is important to remember that the second dose you receive must be from the same manufacturer. Early defense is better than no defense against COVID-19.
Is the hospital clean and safe?
Our hospital is clean and safe -- just like it always has been! One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our physical facility. We partner with a national environmental services vendor to keep our hospital current on the most effective cleaning and disinfection protocols available in healthcare today. We clean ALL equipment, reception and waiting areas, restrooms, chairs, door handles, carts, call systems, TV remotes, telephones throughout all departments of the hospital and other hard surfaces regularly through the day before applying an EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectant. Our environmental services team thoroughly cleans and disinfects all surfaces when a patient is discharged from a surgical suite or patient room. The air systems are inspected, tested and serviced on a regular basis by our qualified technicians. We provide proper air exchanges in accordance with all healthcare regulations.
Do you have the supplies and capacity to accommodate my procedure?
Our clinical team will conduct a daily "go/no-go" meeting in which they will review crucial supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE), medications, blood, space and staffing to ensure that we have enough to comfortably care for those undergoing elective/non-urgent procedures AND accommodate our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
We are not booking our schedules to full capacity. Out of an abundance of caution and with the conservation of supplies in mind, we are not starting with a full schedule right away. Should things continue to progress positively, we'll increase our capacity on a week-by-week basis. This is for your safety and ours.
Do you have enough staff to resume elective/non-urgent procedures?
Our team regularly monitors staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for all patients, providers and employees. In addition, we screen all employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. We are confident that we have the appropriate staff and providers to resume elective and non-urgent procedures while also accommodating our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
Will my experience be the same as in the past?
Your experience in our facility may look a little different than in the past, but this is because we have new processes and procedures in place to further protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What should I expect during my procedure?
Upon arrival at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and provided with a mask (if you do not already have one). If you have your own mask or bandana to cover your mouth and nose, you can wear that.
We have transitioned to limited visitor restrictions. Surgery patients are allowed one (1) WELL family member/spouse/friend/caregiver to enter the hospital. They will be able to stay with you during registration and until the start of your surgical procedure. Once the surgery begins, we will ask your family member/spouse/friend/caregiver with you to wait in their car until your procedure is complete. When you arrive, you will park and enter through the ER entrance of the hospital. We will gather the contact information (name and phone number) of your family member/spouse/friend/caregiver with you upon arrival. We collect this information so we can follow up with them to provide an update after your procedure and the surgery staff share post-operative instructions as well as letting them know to pick you up at the same location you arrived.
You may not see another patient while you are here. We are currently trying to minimize patient encounters from overlapping in an effort to promote social distancing, conserve resources, and protect the safety of all of our patients and employees.
You are going to be asked COVID-19 screening questions multiple times by multiple people, up until you are admitted for your procedure. You may get tired of these questions, but we assure you they are for your health and safety, and that of our staff.
You may never see the faces of your care team members under their protective equipment. We do regret this, as the personal connections we have with our patients and community are what keep us going. However, this is an important precaution we are taking to protect you and our clinical staff.
What questions will I be asked during the screening?
The questions are part of our standard COVID-19 screening process and include asking if you have....
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Whenever you are asked, please answer these screening questions honestly. If your procedure has to be postponed, it will be just that: postponed. It does NOT mean it will be canceled, and we will work with you to reschedule as soon as possible.
How will I prepare for my procedure?
If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be asked to practice "safer at home" behaviors for seven (7) days to minimize potential exposure prior to your procedure. This means going a step further from social distancing -- trying only to leave your home for critical needs such as groceries or going to the pharmacy. If you need to leave for an essential purpose, you must wear a mask. You will also be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure as an additional precaution.
If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.
Will I be tested for COVID-19?
If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure. Your provider will contact the surgery department to schedule your surgery, send any pre-admission surgical testing orders and place the order for the COVID-19 test. Your surgeon's office will then let you know your surgery date along with the date(s), time(s) and location(s) for obtaining your COVID-19 test and pre-admission surgical testing. It is likely your COVID-19 test and pre-admission surgical testing will be on different dates and in a different location. All patients undergoing surgery complete pre-admission surgical testing either by phone or in-person. If your COVID-19 test happens to be positive your surgeon or a representative from the surgeon's office will notify you, inform you that your procedure will be postponed, and provide you with instructions related to your care. If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.
Can my family member/spouse/friend/caregiver come with me to the facility?
Yes, we have transitioned to limited visitor restrictions. Surgery patients are allowed one (1) WELL family member/spouse/friend/caregiver to enter the hospital. They will be able to stay with you during registration and until the start of your surgical procedure. Once the surgery begins, we will ask your family member/spouse/friend/caregiver with you to wait in their car until your procedure is complete. When you arrive, you will park and enter through the ER entrance of the hospital. We will gather the contact information (name and phone number) of your family member/spouse/friend/caregiver with you upon arrival. We collect this information so we can follow up with them to provide an update after your procedure and the surgery staff share post-operative instructions as well as letting them know to pick you up at the same location you arrived.
What happens when I arrive for my procedure?
When you arrive at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and provided with a mask (if you do not already have one). If you have your own mask or bandana to cover your mouth and nose, you can wear that.
Will I be treated near COVID-19 patients?
We are not performing elective/non-urgent procedures on COVID-19 positive patients at this time.
All patients who test positive for an infectious disease, including COVID-19, are isolated for treatment in accordance CDC guidelines.
If I have additional questions about my procedure, who should I contact?
If you have any questions, please call our team at 803-432-4311