Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) recently announced that all South Carolinians aged 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 31 and can begin scheduling appointments.
“Our priority with the vaccine has been to save the lives of those at the greatest risk of dying. By staying the course and resisting distractions, we’ve expanded South Carolinians’ access and eligibility for vaccinations faster than originally anticipated,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our state’s health care professionals, we are now able to make the vaccine available to anyone who wants it, and to do so ahead of schedule.”
“We started by making vaccine available to those who were most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19; the elderly, those with high risk of exposure at work, and those with medical conditions that worsen the effects of COVID-19,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “Today, about a year after the COVID-19 crisis began, we are now able to offer three very safe and effective vaccines to all South Carolina residents over the age of 16 – another step on our path to take control of COVID-19 instead of it controlling us and getting back to normal. ”
On March 8, South Carolina moved into Phase 1b of the vaccination plan, which allowed those 55 and older, everyone with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease, and all frontline workers with increased occupational risk to receive the vaccine. Since then, DHEC and other vaccine providers have administered an average of 23,323 doses per day, totaling 419,816 administered doses since March 8.
“Thanks to the outstanding work of many people, including volunteers, community groups, vaccine providers, and especially the people of South Carolina, we have given over 1.8 million doses of vaccine to over 1.1 million South Carolinians in just over three months,” said Simmer.
In all, DHEC and other vaccine providers have administered a total of 1,818,939 doses of vaccine to South Carolina residents, with 1,163,103 South Carolinians having received at least one dose and 617,787 South Carolinians having completed vaccination. As of today, approximately 15% of South Carolina’s population has been fully vaccinated.
Currently, Pfizer is the only vaccine available to those aged 16-18. All three vaccines—Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen—are available to those aged 18 and older.
According to CDC guidelines, here’s what you can do once you’ve been fully vaccinated.
“Spring, and especially Easter, is a time of hope, and with the COVID-19 vaccines becoming available to all South Carolinians, we can all be hopeful for a better tomorrow,” said Simmer. “I encourage all South Carolinians who have not been vaccinated to receive the vaccine as soon as possible and to continue to wear their masks, and socially distance, to ensure that we save as many lives as we can.”
Online appointments can be made by using scdhec.gov/vaxlocator or you can call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for help.