DHEC Says South Carolina Should Begin Vaccinating Patients 65 And Older For COVID-19

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) officials say South Carolina Hospitals should begin vaccinating patients 65 years and older as long as they do not currently have the coronavirus, and their provider approves it.

“It is within our state’s best interest to allow hospitals to begin vaccinating their admitted patients who are aged 65 years and older,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Public Health Director. “By moving up these patients who are currently admitted in our hospitals we are ensuring that the most vulnerable among us are being vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

DHEC officials say they hope to speed up the amount of South Carolinians getting vaccinated by adding patients 65 years and older to Phase 1a eligible individuals.

“DHEC, Governor McMaster, SCHA and hospitals agree this will be another great step toward vaccinating our most vulnerable residents. Vaccination to these individuals can occur immediately, depending on availability of vaccine and staffing,” Traxler said.

DHEC officials urge Phase 1a healthcare workers to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and no later than January 15th, 2021.

South Carolina has received a federal allocation of 146,500 Pfizer vaccines since December 14th, 2020, with 34,125 doses of the vaccine sent just this week, according to a news release.

Health officials say 62,632 South Carolinians under Phase 1a have received their first dose of the vaccine, 7,698 have received their second dose, and 83,844 Phase 1a individuals have made appointments to get vaccinated.

DHEC officials say they are dedicated to making sure everyone who wishes to receive the COVID-19 vaccine can, and ask those not under Phase 1a to listen for updates from local health officials to determine when it is their turn.