COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTV) - Anyone age 16 or older can get the COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina starting March 31, Gov. Henry McMaster announced Friday. North Carolina is also opening vaccine eligibility to more people March 31.
Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced that all South Carolinians aged 16 and older can begin scheduling their appointments as Wednesday.
South Carolina health leaders provided an update Wednesday afternoon on vaccine supply and the vaccination rollout plan.
“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,” said 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.”
In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper is moving up the timeline to vaccinate the rest of Group 4 and Group 5 in North Carolina. Starting on March 31, COVID-19 vaccination eligibility will open to everyone in Group 4. On April 7, all residents in North Carolina age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
The first portion of Group 4 became eligible to receive the vaccine on March 17.
The rest of Group 4 includes essential workers in commercial services such as hospitality and retail, chemical and pharmaceutical facilities, construction, housing and real estate and other essential sectors.
“Then the biggest change will happen on April 7th when we will open eligibility to Group 5, and that means all adults will then be eligible for the vaccine,” Cooper said.
In North Carolina, additional members of Group 4 (essential workers who are not yet vaccinated) will be eligible to get the vaccine starting March 31. This group is different from frontline essential workers.
Group 4 members eligible starting March 31:
- Those working in the essential sectors identified in Group 3 who did not meet the criteria for frontline. Essential sectors identified in Group 3 include critical manufacturing, education, essential goods, food and agriculture, government and community services, health care and public health, public safety and transportation. See Deeper Dive Group 3.
- Those working in additional essential sectors as defined below.
- Chemical (including workers in petrochemical plants, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceutical facilities, consumer products)
- Commercial facilities (including retail workers, hotel workers)
- Communications and information technology (service repair dispatchers, data center operators)
- Defense industrial base (including workers supporting essential services to meet national security commitments)
- Energy (including electric, petroleum, natural and propane gas workers)
- Financial services (including workers who maintain systems for processing financial transactions, workers needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services)
- Hazardous materials (including nuclear facilities workers, workers managing medical waste)
- Hygiene products and services (including laundromats, sanitation workers)
- Public works and infrastructure support services (including plumbers, electricians, exterminators, workers supporting parks)
- Residential facilities, housing and real estate
- Water and wastewater (including staff at water authorities, wastewater treatment facilities, water sampling and monitoring)
- OTHER PEOPLE LIVING IN GROUP LIVING SETTINGS - This population includes students living in dormitories or other group living settings (e.g., fraternity or sorority houses), who are not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function.
The full Group 4 includes anyone 16-64 years old with one or more high-risk medical conditions for severe disease from COVID-19, people living in close group settings and essential workers who are not yet vaccinated.
Group 5 members eligible April 7 in North Carolina:
- All adults
On March 8, South Carolina moved into Phase 1b of the vaccination plan, which allowed those 55 and older, everyone with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease, and all frontline workers with increased occupational risk to receive the vaccine.
Since then, DHEC and other vaccine providers have administered an average of 23,323 doses per day, totaling 419,816 administered doses since March 8.
“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,” said 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.”
In all, DHEC and other vaccine providers have administered a total of 1,818,939 doses of vaccine to South Carolina residents, with 1,163,103 South Carolinians having received at least one dose and 617,787 South Carolinians having completed vaccination.
As of March 26, approximately 15 percent of South Carolina’s population has been fully vaccinated.
“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, said Simmer.”
Ages for Vaccines
- Currently, Pfizer is the only vaccine available to those aged 16-18.
- All three vaccines - Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen - are available to those aged 18 and older.
According to CDC guidelines, here’s what you can do once you’ve been fully vaccinated.
“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,” said 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.”
How to make an appointment?
Online appointments can be made by using scdhec.gov/vaxlocator or you can call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for help.
Find your spot to take your shot in North Carolina here.