CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says they and Governor Henry McMaster announced South Carolinians 65 or older can begin scheduling their appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
DHEC says vaccinations for the 65 and older range begin Monday, and all residents, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions are eligible for the vaccine.
With increased vaccine allocations from the federal government and a streamlined, statewide vaccination plan, DHEC says it is now appropriate to expand the number of South Carolinians eligible to receive vaccine. They do say however that supply of the vaccine remains limited for the time being.
Additional steps to expedite access to more South Carolinians, including teachers and others in Phase 1b, will be made based on the use of the vaccine, the number of appointments made, and other information on vaccine supply, DHEC says.
“We have a moral and ethical duty to first vaccinate the South Carolinians who are at the highest risk of dying from the virus,” McMaster said. “At this time, placing a younger person between a senior citizen and what could be their lifesaving shot would be unconscionable and irresponsible. Today’s action will save lives and allow our teachers to be vaccinated next.”
“As we evaluate supply versus demand and as the rate of vaccines coming into the state increases, we believe it is appropriate to begin scheduling appointments for additional South Carolinians,” DHEC Acting Director Marshall Taylor said. “While every South Carolinian will have a chance to get the vaccine, it’s important to understand the availability of vaccine is limited in South Carolina, like in all states. To best protect the safety and health of all South Carolinians we must make sure those at highest risk of severe illness and death get vaccinated first.”
DHEC says 81.7 % of COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina have been among those 65 and older and the average age for COVID-19 related deaths in South Carolina is 75.
Additionally, they say there are approximately 309,000 South Carolinians between the ages of 65 and 69 and to date, South Carolina has received 777,250 vaccine and has given 439,888 shots.
DHEC says 382,695 South Carolinians have scheduled vaccine appointments.
In South Carolina there are 458 activated COVID-19 vaccine sites, many of which DHEC says are currently accepting appointments.