Charleston Animal Society’s Feb. 18 Vax-a-Palooza event offers free vaccines and microchips for cats and dogs | Provided

Charleston Animal Society (CAS) is hosting Vax-a-Palooza Feb. 18 to set the Guinness World Record for most vaccine pledges in 24 hours with a goal of 2,000 pledges. 

The event takes place 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at North Charleston Coliseum, and attendees will receive two free vaccines and one microchip for dogs and cats. 

“To our knowledge, it will be the largest event involving veterinarians providing services in our state’s history,” said Joe Elmore, president and CEO of CAS

The City of Brownsville, Texas, secured the world record in 2022 with 1,867 pledges. CAS hopes to surpass this by attaining at least 2,000 pledges.

“It’s not for Charleston Animal Society — it’s for our community,” Elmore told the Charleston City Paper.

Sign up your animals at All dogs and cats will receive $150 in free services, including a microchip, a rabies shot and a combination vaccine to prevent canine and feline diseases. Even if you can’t make it to the event, you can still pledge to vaccinate your animals and help CAS reach its goal. 

“We want folks to bring their animals to the event and have an opportunity to understand the importance of regular veterinary care and regular vaccines,” Elmore said. “We can also check your microchips to see if they are updated, because a big problem with microchipped animals is that the information is out of date.”

Vax-a-Palooza is seeking licensed veterinarians to volunteer for shifts. Email to sign up. 

“Any veterinarian is welcome,” said Abigail Appleton, chief project officer for the Charleston Animal Society. “It’s an opportunity to gain some new clients. We are more than willing to share the love and help raise the level of health in the community. A lot of people don’t have a primary veterinarian for their pets, and this is an opportunity for vets to make that connection with people.”

Elmore said the vaccine initiative arose from an effort to educate people on pet safety and hurricane preparedness.  

“If [Charleston has] a large-scale evacuation, and places that are not used to being pet evacuation shelters across our state start to open up — the first thing they’re going to want are vaccination records,” he said. “There will be a number of places that most likely will turn away folks if they don’t have updated vaccination records. It’s very important. We can’t wait until hurricane season to get this done. We’re also going to give each person an emergency disaster pet grab-and-go bag so they can put in key items they need for their particular pet.”

Charleston Animal Society is partnering with Berkeley County Animal Center, Dorchester Paws, the City of North Charleston, Colleton County Animal Services, Best Friends Animal Society, 24Petwatch and Massachusetts Society of Prevention for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to gather a core of 50 veterinarians and more than 100 support staff members to serve at Vax-a-Palooza. 

“It’s the first time we’ve all come together to do an event this big,” Appleton said. “We want to get as many pets as we can vaccinated and ready for hurricanes and overall raise the level of health of the pets in our community. It’s a great opportunity for everybody to come out and participate.”

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