(WBTV) - South Carolina health leaders and Gov. Henry McMaster announced the start of vaccinations for Phase 1b-1. Any South Carolinian age 70 or older can sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment starting Wednesday, Jan. 13.
South Carolina officials provided an update on the vaccine rollout Monday afternoon.
Based on COVID-19 vaccine data, according to South Carolina health officials, doses received, administered, and appointments scheduled, they are confident the majority of people in Phase 1a who want to be vaccinated have either received their shots or have scheduled appointments to do so.
You can find out about appointments here.
There are currently 146,500 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the state with 82,266 total doses already administered (a 56 percent utilization rate) plus 94,926 appointments scheduled by Phase 1a individuals to receive their vaccine over the next several weeks.
Additional steps to expedite access to additional South Carolinians will be made based on the use of the vaccine, the number of appointments made, and information on vaccine supply.
“Because we’ve seen a dramatic acceleration in vaccine usage and appointments in the last week, we have decided to speed things up again,” said Gov. McMaster. “We know that those 70 and older are at the greatest risk of dying from COVID-19. Making sure they have expedited access to the vaccine will help save lives.”
More than 67 percent of COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina have been among those 70 and older.
It’s estimated there are roughly 627,800 South Carolinians aged 70 or older in South Carolina, with many already receiving their vaccine through other Phase 1a eligibility.
“While COVID-19 vaccine is currently limited in South Carolina, like it is in all states, our providers continue to receive ongoing weekly shipments of vaccine from the federal government,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Director of Public Health. “When evaluating supply versus demand and as the rate of vaccines coming into the state increases compared to the rate of appointments being scheduled, we believe it is appropriate to begin scheduling appointments for additional South Carolinians. Based on current data, the mortality rate from COVID-19 for those 70 and older in South Carolina is approximately 655 deaths per 100,000 individuals. For those under the age of 70, there are approximately 37 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 individuals. This is a staggering comparison and illustrates why vaccinating this population next is critically important in our mission to save lives.”
Individuals eligible to receive the vaccine can schedule an appointment, which currently includes several major hospitals, seven DHEC sites, a DHEC mobile clinic and 12 doctor’s cares locations.
An additional 50 locations will be added to this list and available to provide vaccine by the beginning of next week. Individuals can also call the DHEC Care Line at 1-855-472-3432 for assistance with scheduling an appointment.