The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has announced that 69,959 Phase 1a healthcare workers in the state are currently scheduled to receive vaccination against COVID-19.
“We recognize the urgent need to vaccinate as many people in our state as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Public Health Director. “To support this effort, hospitals should vaccinate any South Carolinian who qualifies under any category of Phase 1a, which encompasses our healthcare workers.”
As of today, South Carolina has received 146,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. This includes 34,125 doses received this week. 52,163 healthcare workers in Phase 1a have currently received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 1,107 have now received their second dose.
CDC guidance originally provided a goal of having 70 percent of Phase 1a individuals vaccinated before advancing to Phase 1b. Over this past weekend, that guidance evolved to now suggest several variables to take into consideration for when to transition, with an overarching theme of supply exceeding demand.
To speed up the number of South Carolinians getting vaccinated, Phase 1a individuals or their employers must have contacted a provider to schedule an appointment by the Jan. 15, 2021, deadline to ensure priority for the vaccine. DHEC will evaluate demand up to Jan. 15, 2021, to determine whether to request providers move forward with scheduling for the next phase of vaccinations.
“Our hospital partners have made great strides in getting Phase 1a individuals vaccinated and are key to getting vaccination for all those who want to be immunized, especially due to the ultra-cold logistics of the Pfizer vaccine,” Traxler said.
South Carolina employers with Phase 1a workers are encouraged to reach out to their local hospitals as soon as possible and no later than Jan. 15, 2021, with a roster of employees who want to be vaccinated. In addition, individuals in Phase 1a who want to be vaccinated should contact their local or nearest hospital to request an appointment no later than Jan. 15, 2021. Contact information for hospitals is available at scdhec.gov/vaxfacts.
“As we work to ramp up vaccination operations across the state, it’s important to understand the number of doses is currently limited in South Carolina like in all states,” Dr. Traxler said. “Phase 1a eligible South Carolinians include hundreds of thousands of individuals, which is much larger than the current doses of vaccine we have. We continue to ask people to be as patient as you can while you work to schedule your appointment to be vaccinated.”
Individuals making appointments may need to present credentials to verify they qualify to receive vaccination under Phase 1a. This includes providing some proof (e.g., badge, card, license, personalized letter from employer, picture of license) of Phase 1a qualification when presenting for the vaccination.
South Carolina receives vaccines on a weekly basis. Appointments are subject to cancellation based on vaccines received from the federal government.
Progressing from the Initial Phase into Widespread Availability in Summer
As vaccine supply increases, vaccination recommendations will expand to include more groups. This is subject to change at any time for many reasons, such as a change in federal guidance or in the VAC’s recommendations for South Carolina.
Phase 1a (Currently Ongoing) – Vaccinations for Phase 1a are anticipated to continue to February 2021. Phase 1a includes:
Residents and staff of long-term care facilities;
Healthcare personnel, with an initial focus on healthcare workers critical to the mission of preventing death.
Phase 1b (Late Winter 2021):
All people aged 75 years and older
Frontline essential workers (sectors included by ACIP: firefighters, law enforcement officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, USPS workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector—teachers, support staff, and daycare workers)
Phase 1c (Early Spring 2021):
All people aged 65 – 74 years and older
People aged 16 – 64 years with certain underlying health conditions that puts them at high risk for severe disease
Other essential workers (examples included by ACIP: people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health staff who are non-frontline healthcare workers).
Phase 2 (Late Spring-Fall 2021)
ALL people who wish to be vaccinated
Ages per recommendations by ACIP
Phase 2 vaccinations are anticipated to begin in late Spring 2021, with the vaccines expected to become available for the general public during the summer and fall of 2021.
For the latest information about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit scdhec.gov/vaxfacts.