Midlands residents have a new option to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. The former Sears location at Columbia Place Mall opened this week as a federally supported community vaccination center.

The site is offering both drive-through appointments and walk-ins. It’s expected to provide up to 7,000 vaccine doses each week to people 16 and older now through June.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force selected the location, one of several anchor store locations Richland County purchased in 2017. The task force chose host counties as vaccination sites if they met factors in the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index, a database that helps communities prepare for and recover from public health emergencies. Richland County’s population and low vaccination rate were other factors. Columbia Place Mall was chosen as a host site because of its accessibility, parking and other factors.

"Community-focused vaccine events like this are going to help us reach some of those vulnerable populations and communities by expanding access to the vaccine and making it as easy as possible for all South Carolinians who want to be vaccinated to do so,” said Brannon Traxler, SCDHEC interim public health director, in a news release about the new site.

South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division and the Department of Health and Environmental Control are partnering to coordinate the site with vaccine supplies and logistics and planning staff support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Richland County Emergency Medical Services is on hand to assist with medical emergencies, and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department is handling traffic control on site.

Appointments at the Columbia Place Mall site are preferred but not required. Visit vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov to schedule an appointment. For more information or assistance, call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line: 866-365-8110.

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