South Carolina moving to Phase 1B of vaccination plan next week


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) — South Carolina will move to Phase 1B of its vaccine plan on Monday, making the majority of people living in the state eligible.

This comes as the state surpasses 1 million doses of the vaccine, with even more supply expected.

This next phase includes anyone age 55 and older, frontline workers at risk at in-person jobs and those with certain health risks.

Gov. Henry McMaster was joined Tuesday by South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Director Dr. Edward Simmer, and Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman to make the announcement.

Watch more of Tuesday’s press conference below:

“We have about 2.7 million South Carolinians in 1B,” said Simmer. “That will take us forward and get us closer to herd immunity which is 70 to 80% of the population getting vaccinated.”

The Palmetto State has a population of about 5 million.

Spearman says while Tuesday’s announcement doesn’t exactly prioritize teachers and staff, she is grateful they will be able to get the shot.

“Take the vaccine as soon as it is offered to you. Do not wait,” she advised. “It is safe, and our students need you in the classroom delivering high-quality instruction every day as we work to fight the academic impact of COVID-19.”

The superintendent and the governor once again urged school districts to begin offering five days of in-person instruction immediately.

Meanwhile, DHEC anticipates moving to Phase 1C mid-April and Phase 2 the following month.

Online appointments can be made by clicking here. You can also call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for help.

Phase 1B

Officials announced Phase 1B will begin on March 8, and the following people will be able to register to receive the vaccine:

  • Anyone aged 55+
  • People with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
    • People aged 16-64 with one or more of the following high-risk medical conditions:
      • Cancer (current, not a history of cancer), chronic kidney disease (any stage), chronic lung disease, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), Down syndrome, heart disease (congestive heart disease, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension), HIV/AIDS, solid organ transplant, obesity (BMI>30), pregnancy, sickle cell disease
    • People who have a developmental or other sever high-risk disability that makes developing severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection more likely
  • Frontline workers with increased occupational risk
    • Must be in-person at their place of work, and
    • Perform a job that puts them at increased risk of exposure due to their frequent, close (less than 6 feet) and ongoing (more than 15 minutes) contact with others in the work environment
      • (Examples of frontline workers include, but are not limited to, school staff and daycare workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, law enforcement officers, etc.)
  • Individuals at increased risk in settings where people are living and working in close contact
    • Residents and workers in group home settings for the mentally or physically disabled or those with behavioral or substance abuse conditions
    • Workers and residents in homeless shelters
    • Workers and residents in community training homes
    • State and local correctional facility staff with direct inmate contact
    • Correctional and immigration detention facility inmates
    • Migrant farmworkers living in shared housing or reliant on shared transportation
  • All workers in healthcare and community health settings who have routine, direct patient contact and were not vaccinated in Phase 1A

Phase 1C

DHEC anticipates Phase 1C will begin on approximately April 12.

Phase 1C will include:

  • People aged 45+
  • Essential workers
    • This group includes those who work in essential job categories as defined by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control who are not included in Phase 1B because they do not have frequent, close contact with others in the work environment (examples may include construction workers, delivery drivers, utility workers, etc. who do not have frequent, close and ongoing contact with others).

Phase 2

Phase 2 is expected to begin on approximately May 3. Phase 2 will include:

  • All South Carolinians aged 16+

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