BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – South Carolina is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to residents age 65 and older starting Monday.
Gov. Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced the decision Wednesday.
Regardless of health status or preexisting conditions, those in the expanded age group can begin scheduling their appointment to receive the vaccine.
“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,” said DHEC Acting Director Marshall Taylor.
“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,” she continued. “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.”
Officials say steps are being taken to expedite access to others in Phase 1b — including teachers.
“We have a moral and ethical duty to first vaccinate the South Carolinians who are at the highest risk of dying from the virus,” said McMaster. “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.”
South Carolinians eligible to receive the vaccine can find appointments through DHEC’s online tool at scdhec.gov/vaxlocator or by calling the new vaccine information line at 1-866-365-8110, available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
The DHEC Care Line is also available at 1-855-472-3432 for assistance with testing and other health department services.