After administering vaccines to more than 20,000 people during a nearly two-month run, the federally funded community vaccination center at Richland County-owned Columbia Place Mall officially closed to walk-ins this week.
The large-scale vaccination site opened April 14, distributing both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Through Wednesday, June 9, when the site closed to walk-ins, 21,644 people had received vaccinations, including 17,674 Richland County residents.
“Richland County was extremely proud to partner in the effort to make this vaccination center a reality,” County Council Chair Paul Livingston said. “As more and more people in our community have received the vaccine, we have seen COVID-19 rates drop drastically, and this site played an important role in that effort.”
Another 5,600 people who received their first dose of the vaccine at the site are scheduled to get their second dose in the next two weeks. Staff with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) will remain on-site to give those vaccinations, but the site is not accepting new appointments.
The site received support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and operated through partnerships with Richland County, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), the S.C. Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) and the City of Columbia.
“Nearly 43 percent of Richland County residents have been vaccinated. This number is as high as it is due to the partnership Richland County had with FEMA, SCEMD and SCDHEC to provide the vaccination site at Columbia Place Mall,” said Councilwoman Gretchen Barron, chair of the County’s Coronavirus Ad Hoc Committee.
“It has been reported that our site was one of the highest-performing sites in the country, and that’s good news. We will continue to explore other opportunities for the citizens who have not been vaccinated to do so.”
In addition, Richland County Emergency Medical Services staffed the site to assist with medical emergencies, and the County Sheriff’s Department handled traffic control.
When the White House Coronavirus Task Force selected the mall’s former Sears location for the site, County officials saw a chance to further the County’s pandemic recovery effort. Those efforts have included rental assistance for residents, monetary aid for non-profits and businesses, as well as face mask distribution.