Residents can now receive COVID-19 vaccinations at the Columbia Place Mall, where a portion of the facility owned by Richland County has been transformed into a federally supported community vaccination center.
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 pandemic recovery effort.
“The use of the County’s property for this purpose is in line with the County’s mission and efforts to aid in the well-being of residents,” County Administrator Leonardo Brown said. “At the onset of the pandemic, Richland County Council voted to provide funding to assist residents and businesses. It’s gratifying that the County is able to assist our federal and state partners in an effort to help more people during this time.”
The site, which can serve both drive-thru appointments and walk-ins, opens Wednesday, April 14 and is expected to provide up to 7,000 vaccine doses each week to people 16 and older until its expected closure in June. County officials got an early look at the site Tuesday.
"For the vulnerable population in Richland County, the barrier has been broken. They can now come and get this vaccine and we can start to move on to a healthier life," said Gretchen Barron, District 7 Councilwoman and Coronavirus Ad Hoc Committee chair.
The state’s Emergency Management Division and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) are helping to coordinate the site, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency will support with vaccine supplies and logistics and planning staff.
Richland County Emergency Medical Services will be on hand to assist with medical emergencies, and the County Sheriff’s Department will handle traffic control on site.
Host counties were picked 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. In 2017, the County purchased several anchor store locations at the mall on Two Notch Road in Northeast Richland.
"The community-focused vaccine events, like the ones that will begin here tomorrow at the Columbia Place Mall, 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, interim public health director for SCDHEC.
To schedule an appointment for the vaccine, individuals can visit vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov. Appointments at the Columbia Place Mall site are preferred but not required.
For more information or assistance, call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line: 866-365-8110.
(From left) Richland County Assistant Administrator Lori Thomas, Councilwoman Yvonne McBride, Administrator Leonardo Brown, Council Chair Paul Livingston and Councilwoman Gretchen Barron tour the new COVID-19 vaccination site at the Columbia Place Mall on Tuesday.