PALMETTO STATE EXTRA: Your Health & You!

April 01, 2021

*Tidelands Health Partners With SC DHEC To Help Individuals Who Are Overdue For Their Second Dose of Pfizer Vaccine*

It’s been a source of worry and frustration for many. Now, Tidelands Health and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control have come together to offer a solution.

Individuals who received a first dose of Pifzer vaccine but have been unable to secure a second dose can register with Tidelands Health, the region’s leader in COVID-19 vaccine administration, to receive their overdue second dose of the lifesaving vaccine.

SC DHEC has allocated 2,340 doses of Pfizer vaccine to Tidelands Health specifically for this purpose.

Evelyn Swinton prepares vaccines at a Tidelands Health vaccination clinic in Georgetown.“At Tidelands Health, we’ve administered more than 34,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and every person who has received a first dose has been successfully scheduled for a second dose,” said Gayle Resetar, chief operating officer. “Our health system has not canceled a single vaccine appointment.

“In other parts of the region and state, however, that’s not always been the case. Some people have received a first dose and then been unable to find a second-dose appointment, or, in some cases, they have had their second-dose appointment canceled.

“When DHEC asked us if we’d be willing to step up and help these individuals, we didn’t hesitate. We know the COVID-19 vaccine is most effective when both doses are administered, and we want to do all we can to make sure everyone receives both their first and second dose.”

Tidelands Health will hold a special vaccine clinic in the coming days to administer these makeup Pfizer doses. To qualify, individuals must have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine more than 23 days ago and must have been unable to secure a second dose. Individuals who received the Moderna vaccine are not eligible to participate, as the two vaccines are not interchangeable. To register, eligible individuals should complete the request form at tidelandshealth.org/seconddose or by calling 1-866-TIDELANDS. Individuals are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible because of the time-sensitive nature of the vaccine administration window.

While the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should ideally be given 21 days after the first dose, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has indicated the second dose may be administered up to 42 days after the first dose when a delay is unavoidable. After 42 days, the second dose can still be administered, but there is limited data available on the efficacy of vaccines administered beyond this window.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to serve our community in this innovative way,” Resetar said. “For people who are overdue for their second dose of Pfizer vaccine and who haven’t known where to turn, Tidelands Health is here to help.”

*Glaucoma Is A Leading Cause Of Preventable Blindness: Don’t Skip Eye-care Checkups*

Blindness caused by glaucoma is insidious. In most cases, there is no pain, and the loss of vision occurs slowly from peripheral to central. Many people do not even realize it’s happening until they have lost a substantial amount of peripheral vision. But Dr. Daniel Laroche, Director of Glaucoma Services and President of Advanced Eyecare of New York, wants you to know there is a way to prevent the devastating effects of glaucoma: Don’t skip your eyecare visits.

What is Glaucoma? Glaucoma is a disease of the eye characterized by three components:

1. Damage and loss of the retinal ganglions cells and optic nerve described as cupping

2. Loss of visual field

3. Usually increased eye pressure (the mean normal eye pressure is 15mmHG)

People at risk for glaucoma include the elderly, Blacks, people with elevated eye pressure, primary relatives with glaucoma, persons with high myopia, high hyperopia, history of eye trauma and diabetes.

The elevated intraocular pressure from glaucoma damages the optic nerve mechanically and creates decreased blood flow to the eye. The most identifiable cause of glaucoma is the enlarged lens or cataract in the eye. Early cataract surgery and trabecular bypass has become the best option to stop vision loss in patients with glaucoma. The current use of eyedrops and laser help to lower intraocular pressure but do not address the causative mechanism of the glaucoma being the enlarged lens. Incisional cataract surgery and glaucoma surgery is often needed to truly stabilize glaucoma.

All people should be screened regularly for glaucoma as part of a medical eye exam. Screening should consist of an eye examination consisting of gonioscopy (examination of the drainage angle), intraocular pressure measurement with Goldmann applanation tonometry and a dilated optic nerve examination. If there appears to be any damage to the optic nerve or abnormal pressure, then a visual field test should be performed, and optic nerve photos taken. Persons with thin corneas should be more aggressively monitored and treated for glaucoma as the disease tends to be worse in these patients.

If you have eye pressure or glaucoma and feel that you may be losing vision, Dr. Laroche recommends that you seek the care of a glaucoma specialist for a second opinion. DON’T GO BLIND FROM GLAUCOMA! People with conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy that could lead to blindness if left unchecked need to stay particularly vigilant with their checkups. The pandemic shouldn’t keep you from visiting your doctor, but for patients over 60, Dr. Laroche advises it's better to stay home and do telehealth visits or video consultations until the pandemic flattens. He also encourages people to wear face masks on visits and maintain social distancing, even if they are in a health clinic, and if you’re high-risk, consider adding eye protection when in public spaces.

“Eyesight or human vision is one of the most important senses. As much as 80 percent of what we feel comes through our sense of sight. By protecting the eyes, people will reduce the chance of blindness and vision loss while also staying on top of any developing eye diseases, such as glaucoma and cataracts.

“A healthy brain function requires a healthy vision. The brain is our most essential organ, and it allows us to control other organs. Normal and healthy vision contributes to improved learning and comprehension for a better quality of life,” says Dr. Laroche.
About Dr. Daniel Laroche

Dr. Laroche is an exceptional glaucoma specialist in New York. He studied and received his bachelor's degree from New York University and a medical doctorate with honors in research from Weil Cornell University Medical College. He underwent a medical internship at Montefiore Hospital and finished his ophthalmology residency at Howard University Hospital in Washington D.C., where he was the chief resident in his third year. He later completed his glaucoma fellowship at New York Eye and Ear.
For more information about Dr. Laroche, please call (212) 663-0473 or visit: www.advancedeyecareny.com.

*MUSC Weekly Update On COVID-19 Vaccine And Testing*

MUSC Health remains focused on the safety of our community, patients, families and care team members. We are pleased to see a continued decline in COVID-19 infections and want to provide you with further information and updates about services, including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. We must continue to be vigilant with COVID-19. Here is this week's update.

Here are this week's updates to our vaccine administration efforts:

1) All South Carolinians aged 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 31, 2021 and can begin scheduling their appointments as of March 31.

2) We are pleased to announce that this past week, we completed scheduling vaccine appointments for all our waitlisted patients. We are now able to schedule additional appointments. As supply improves, we will add more appointment. Please click here to schedule a vaccine appointment.

3) We will continue to use the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine. Also, if we receive supplies of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, we will use that as well.
Eligible individuals interested in vaccination should visit MUSChealth.org/vaccine to make an appointment. If you need additional assistance scheduling your appointment, please call 843-876-7227.

The MUSC Health team continues to work diligently and around the clock on this complex and important distribution process. As of March 25, the total number of COVID-19 vaccinations administered by MUSC Health is 152,540.

Since early December, we have been an advocate for all vaccine supplies to simply be put in the hands of providers that commit to an aggressive vaccine process. This is how each year the influenza vaccine occurs without incident. In that way, without the multiple regulations and with adequate supplies, we can build robust, reliable clinics that will result in rapid vaccinations.

We plan to continue vaccinating as many people as possible based on our vaccine supplies. We still do not have an exact timeline for when the vaccine will be more widely available, but we hear that April and May will bring greater supplies. There is still no need to contact your provider about scheduling a vaccine appointment. We will alert patients through MUSC Health MyChart as soon as vaccines are available. Please visit our MUSC Health Information on the COVID-19 Vaccine webpage for updates and information on eligibility and scheduling.

COVID-19 Screening and Testing

MUSC Health is offering COVID-19 testing and collection options throughout South Carolina. This includes virtual screenings, COVID-19 diagnostic testing by appointment, antibody testing and free testing through our mobile testing sites. Learn more about our screening and testing options.

Monoclonal antibody therapy is available for high-risk patients with COVID-19 infections. It has been shown to decrease the risk of hospitalization when given in the first week after symptom onset. Although current monoclonal antibody supplies are limited, MUSC Health wants to ensure all high-risk patients have access to this therapy. If you test positive for COVID-19 and meet the criteria for high-risk, contact your physician immediately for a referral.
At MUSC Health, we are ready to see you through a video visit or see you in-person. Safety measures are in place to protect you online and in our clinics.

We are ready. We are safe. We are open. It is important that you feel safe seeking the health care that you need. Many people are working behind the scenes to ensure your safety. Learn more about the safety procedures you can expect when you come to MUSC.

We remain diligent and dedicated to serving our community. Please continue to stay vigilant with best practices known to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as hand washing and sanitizing, masking and social distancing.

I look forward to providing additional updates in the weeks to come.

Yours in Health,

Patrick J. Cawley, MD

CEO, MUSC Health