Over 10,000 Served Through Don’t Miss Your Shot, a COMET Campaign
COLUMBIA, SC- The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) launched a comprehensive campaign titled ‘Don’t Miss Your Shot’ in early 2021 to ensure every Midlands community member has access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
After the COVID-19 vaccinations were first made available in December in 2020, The COMET wanted to inform and educate Midlands residents about the life-saving vaccines as well as connect those who wanted the shot to vaccination sites. The COMET has provided free transportation for those seeking the shot and continues to get the word out that lack of personal transportation must not be an impediment for receiving the vaccination against COVID-19. All riders have to do is show proof of their appointment to their bus operator and they can ride The COMET, for free, to major vaccination locations.
A dedicated web page was created for this campaign (www.COMETCovidHelp.org) along with radio, television and social media ads. Flyers, brochures, billboards and in-person channels for messaging were also created that details information on how to use The COMET transit services to get to vaccination locations.
In addition to The COMET fixed route bus services which serves many of the hospitals, urgent care facilities and pharmacies in Richland and Lexington Counties, The COMET offers three additional programs to serve those 65 years old and older and/or persons with disabilities needing transportation:
- DART services by calling 803.255.7123, the same day up to 7 days in advance as long as you have a prescheduled vaccination appointment (you may need to show proof to the bus operator).
- V-TRIP, the Volunteer Transportation Program, which provides a limited mileage reimbursement to a friend or neighbor who transports someone who resides in Richland or Lexington Counties but is outside of The COMET service area. Registration for this program is required by calling 803.834.2382 or visiting firstname.lastname@example.org.
- PUP, or the Pick-Up Program, utilizes Uber, Lyft and Taxi services to transport residents of Richland or Lexington Counties who are outside of The COMET service area. Limited reimbursement is provided, and registration is required by calling 803.834.2382 or visiting email@example.com.
The COMET’s interim CEO Derrick Huggins used this service to secure his COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 saying, “I wanted to have the same experience as our riders who are traveling to get their vaccine. Not having a car should never exclude people from receiving essential services.”
In May of 2021, The COMET, in partnership with Health Force, LLC, began offering free COVID-19 vaccinations at the COMET Central transit hub location at the corner of Laurel and Sumter Streets. Community members can walk up to the back gated parking lot Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2-5:30 p.m. with no appointment necessary to receive their vaccination.
The ‘Don’t Miss Your Shot’ campaign has allowed The COMET to serve over 10,000 individuals in the Midlands through COVID-19 vaccines and tests, Uber and Lyft rides, SCDHEC partnership tests, DART rides as well as through a partnership with Healthforce LLC since February 2021.
Another partnership came in May of 2021 when The COMET teamed up with rideshare programs to provide access to rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Richland and Lexington Counties as a part of the ‘Don’t Miss Your Shot’ campaign. Participants were able to receive up to four free rides (up to $15 each trip) to and from vaccination appointments.
The COMET has played a key role in ensuring thousands of Midlands community members are protected against the COVID-19 vaccine. If you want still need to get your shot, click here to learn more.