WPDE: South Carolina to get vaccine in mid-to-late December, DHEC says

By Heather Gale

The COVID-19 vaccine could arrive in South Carolina in mid-to-late December, according to officials with South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

How many vaccine doses the state will get, however, has not been released as of Dec. 2.

A DHEC spokesperson said that they will update the public with concretes dates and numbers as they’re available.

As of Dec. 1, South Carolina had a total of 205,004 confirmed cases and 13,908 probable cases. The state has also seen 4,091 confirmed deaths and 313 probable deaths related to the virus.

RELATED: North Carolina to get 85,000 initial Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses

DHEC also reported that there are currently 980 COVID-19 patients in the hospital with 201 in the ICU and 84 of those on ventilators.

The vaccine, when available, will be free for everyone. Each person will have to get two doses of the vaccine, from the same manufacturer as the first dose.

DHEC has a phased system in place on who would get the vaccine and when.

RELATED: Here are answers to your questions regarding a COVID-19 vaccine

“South Carolina is committed to the fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine within our state,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said in November.

State officials have broken down vaccination efforts into three phases, each dependent on the availability of vaccines:

  • Phase 1: South Carolina expects limited vaccine availability, focusing on equitable distribution to targeted populations utilizing a limited number of providers.
  • Phase 2: South Carolina will continue to identify and quantify target populations and expand provider enrollment to serve targeted groups.
  • Phase 3: The vaccine will be available in sufficient quantities for the entire population and a surplus of doses are available, focusing on ensuring equitable vaccination access in the whole population.

Since the vaccines require second doses, state health officials said in November they were working with providers to set up a system to track recipients and issue reminders through text and email when the doses were ready. The second dose must be given approximately three weeks after the first in order for the vaccine to be effective, company officials have reported.

On Dec. 2, the CDC announced new guidelines for quarantine and for testing before and after travel.

Dr. Henry Walke, MD, COVID-19 incident manager, said the CDC has identified two alternative quarantine periods.

The first is that a person can end quarantine now after 10 days with no test or after 7 days with a negative test results – both if person has no symptoms.

However, he said people should still watch for symptoms for a full 14 days. He said reducing the length of quarantine could make people take it seriously and lessen the stress on the public health system and communities when cases are rising.

While the CDC is still recommending people postpone holiday travel, but if a person were to decide to travel, they recommend people consider getting tested one to three days before the trip and three to five days after the trip. They recommend that be combined with reducing non-essential activities for a full 7 days after travel even if tested negative.

Officials said testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with other precautions, it can make travel safer.

Categories: State