Anyone who shows up without an appointment will be turned away.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare is taking a bold step forward as it expands its COVID-19 vaccination efforts to the public by implementing drive-thru vaccination in the parking lot of the North Charleston Coliseum starting Wednesday.
The Roper St. Francis Healthcare COVID-19 Vaccination Drive-Thru initially will be limited only to patients who are 70 or older. Those patients can contact their Roper St. Francis Physician Partners doctors’ offices to schedule appointments for COVID-19 vaccines starting today. Patients who are 70 and older who do not have a Roper St. Francis physician can call (843) 727-DOCS to schedule vaccination appointments.
Due to the complexity of scheduling and forecasting when doses will arrive, we only will be able to accommodate scheduled appointments. This means anyone who drives up without an appointment will be turned away.
“This is an innovative, safe and sustainable solution that will make a significant impact on the Lowcountry and our residents’ ability to protect themselves from this deadly virus,” said Roper St. Francis Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Physician Officer Dr. Chris McLain.
The healthcare system is working through the details, but the plan is for Lowcountry residents who have scheduled appointments to drive into the North Charleston Coliseum parking lot beginning Jan. 20 and receive the vaccine from the comfort of their vehicles. Those receiving the vaccine would be required to remain in their vehicles for 15 minutes after getting the vaccine to ensure no adverse side effects, and clinicians would be on site and ready to treat anyone experiencing a severe reaction.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare has been working with city and state officials to secure the space and acquire necessary approvals. The not-for-profit healthcare system has been focused on vaccinating its teammates, medical staff and other healthcare workers since Dec. 15. It has administered more than 8,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in conference rooms across its four hospitals. When Gov. Henry McMaster expedited the start date to vaccinate those 70 or older this week, the healthcare system’s leaders and physicians immediately began thinking about how their efforts could be scaled up in a dramatic way to reach more residents
“We realized we needed to think differently if we wanted to administer this life-saving vaccine to Lowcountry residents as quickly as possible,” McLain said. “Roper St. Francis Healthcare is known throughout the Lowcountry for providing easy access to quality healthcare, and I cannot think of a more central location for residents to access this potentially life-saving vaccine than at the Coliseum, a short drive for our patients living in North Charleston, West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Summerville and Goose Creek and the rest of Berkeley and Dorchester counties.”
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said the state’s third largest city was thrilled to partner with Roper St. Francis Healthcare to help more community members take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The North Charleston Coliseum is a perfect spot to host an ongoing COVID-19 Vaccination Drive-Thru for the Lowcountry,” Summey said. “Our team is adept at managing crowds of more than 13,000 for Coliseum events, and they easily can adapt to supporting this effort. We stand ready to support Roper St. Francis Healthcare in ensuring the safety and success of this essential initiative that will help save lives.”