S.C. opens COVID-19 vaccination appointments for those age 65 and older

S.C. vaccinating people 65+

SOUTH CAROLINA (WBTV) - South Carolina residents over age 65, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions, are now able to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments. The appointment scheduling for those eligible started Monday, Feb. 8.

Gov. Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) made the announcement last week.

Click here for locations in your area accepting appointments.

“With increased vaccine allocations from the federal government and a streamlined, statewide vaccination plan, it is now appropriate to expand the number of South Carolinians eligible to receive vaccine,” South Carolina health officials say. “However, supply of the vaccine remains limited for the time being.”

Expediting access to teachers and others in Phase 1b will be made based on the use of the vaccine, the number of appointments made and information on vaccine supply.

“We have a moral and ethical duty to first vaccinate the South Carolinians who are at the highest risk of dying from the virus,” McMaster said. “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.”

Health officials say 81.7 percent of COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina have been among those 65 and older, with the average age being 75.

In South Carolina there are currently 458 activated COVID-19 vaccine sites, many of which are currently accepting appointments, with the others set to begin accepting appointments soon.

“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,” said DHEC Acting Director Marshall Taylor. “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.”

What to know:

  • Beginning Monday, February 8, any South Carolina resident who is at least 65 years old can schedule their appointment to receive COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at the highest risk.
  • Residents will be asked to provide a driver’s license or other form of ID at their appointment that confirms their age and, therefore, their eligibility to receive vaccine.
  • South Carolinians eligible to receive vaccine can schedule an appointment at a location accepting COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The scdhec.gov/vaxlocator can be used to find those locations and get contact information for scheduling appointments at those locations. People can also call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for help finding vaccine providers and their contact information to schedule an appointment.
  • COVID-19 is still at high levels in South Carolina. Wear a face mask, stay six feet away from others, avoid crowds, and get tested often.

SCforEd teacher advocacy group released a statement on Wednesday:

“Once again, Governor McMaster has failed to prioritize public education. Even worse, he has created a false narrative that multiple groups cannot be vaccinated at the same time, as is occurring in other states. Since he refuses to vaccinate school staff immediately, he should also stop putting pressure on schools to open in person 5 days a week.

The governorship is a position of privilege meant to guide and protect the citizens of a state. Governor McMaster would do well to reflect on that.”

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