South Carolina could start Phase 1B of COVID vaccinations next week

South Carolina could start Phase 1B of COVID vaccine next week

SOUTH CAROLINA — South Carolina’s Phase 1A COVID-19 vaccinations will likely last weeks or even months, according to officials at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

Those same officials, however, say that they’ll evaluate where things stand on Jan. 15 and could jump to the next phase of the vaccine distribution then.

Wednesday afternoon, DHEC had a press conference, where an official said: “Phase 1A individuals who are eligible in South Carolina include hundreds of thousands of people, which is much larger than the number of doses of vaccine we have.”

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There are about 350,000 people in Phase 1A throughout the state, but if there aren’t many appointments made for next week for people in the Phase 1A group, DHEC says it could shift to Phase 1B earlier than expected.

Phase 1B includes anyone over 75 years old, all law enforcement, all teachers and other essential jobs.

Some officials are seeing issues with the vaccine distribution so far.

“I do think there’s been some breakdown in communication from DHEC out into the counties and out to the providers,” said Lancaster County Emergency Management Director Darren Player.

Player said some counties that don’t have large hospitals don’t have the providers to get the vaccine to the people.

“They’ve got people ready to take shots, they know who wants it, but they can’t find anybody that can give it to them,” he said.

Over 146,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in the state along with more than 84,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

So far just over 52,000 Pfizer doses have been given. The Moderna vaccine is being used only for long-term care facilities. The number of doses given out isn’t available at this point.

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