COLUMBIA, S.C. — Governor Henry McMaster says starting March 31st all residents in South Carolina 16-years-old and up will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) joined Governor McMaster in making this announcement on Friday, and officials say residents can begin scheduling their appointment to get vaccinated as early as Wednesday.
“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,” says 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.”
Health officials say on March 8th South Carolina moved into Phase 1b of vaccination efforts allowing anyone 55-years-old and up, those with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease, and all frontline workers to receive the vaccine.
DHEC officials say since then the state has administered 419,816 doses of the vaccine, with an average of 23,323 doses being administered per day.
“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,” says 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. ”
Health officials say since the vaccine has been available, a total of 1,818,939 first doses have been administered to South Carolina residents and 617,787 residents have completed the series.
“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,” says Simmer.
So far the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine available to those between 16 and 18-years-old, and officials say all three vaccines are available to anyone 18-years-old and up including Pfizer, Moderna, and Janseen.
Click here to make an appointment or call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for help.
“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,” says 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.”