Hundreds roll up sleeves at Darlington COVID-19 clinic

Ginny DeFee, 76, receives the first of two COVID vaccination shots last week. ‘Didn’t even feel it, hardly,’ said the Darlington resident. PHOTO BY BOBBY BRYANT

Mike Wachowski of Effingham getting his vaccine. PHOTO BY BOBBY BRYANT

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

editor@newsandpress.net

Mike Wachowski of Effingham was rolling down his sleeve. He’d just gotten a COVID-19 vaccination shot inside the gym of First Baptist Church on South Main Street in Darlington. “Didn’t feel it at all! I didn’t feel anything!” said Wachowski, 77, one of the first people to take advantage of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s day-long vaccination clinic Feb. 3 – an event that officials believed was the agency’s first such effort in Darlington County. At least “several hundred” people were expected to be vaccinated by day’s end, and DHEC will be back at First Baptist next month to administer the second shot needed to make sure the vaccine works at maximum strength. Several National Guardsmen were on hand at the vaccination clinic, apparently to help direct crowds if needed. One thing was certain for people the News & Press talked to, with DHEC’s permission: It doesn’t hurt. “Didn’t even feel it, hardly,” said Ginny DeFee, 76, who lives in Darlington. “Just a little prick … like a regular vaccination.” She was also among the first inside the First Baptist gym for a vaccine shot. “I don’t have any worries at all” about the vaccine, she said. “I think it’s a good idea for anybody.” “I tried to look at the alternatives,” she said. That’s the same approach DeFee takes with friends who are leery of the vaccine for various reasons. “I tell them to look at the alternative. You take a chance. You never know where you’re going to pick it up, or who you’re going to pick it up from. “I don’t care how careful you are, you still (take) that chance. Hopefully, with the vaccines, it’ll help protect people.” DeFee said some people in her family have had fairly mild cases of COVID-19. She said she first made an appointment with MUSC to get vaccinated, but they could not schedule her until the end of April. She doesn’t need that appointment now. “I was so happy when I heard about this,” DeFee said. “I think it’s wonderful they are doing this here. It’s been very efficient, and everybody has been so nice; they just seem to have everything organized and know what they’re doing. It’s been a good experience.” Wachowski also gave DHEC’s event high marks for making everything as painless as possible. “I’ve been concerned” about the virus and the toll it’s taking on America, he said. “I still go to the grocery store and go to church, but that’s about all.” He said he expects to feel safer once his body has adjusted to the initial dose of the vaccine. “It’s either this or take a chance on getting the COVID itself. So I’d rather do this.”

Author: Rachel Howell

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