DHEC: 39,100 coronavirus vaccine doses administered in SC so far

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– On Thursday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental control provided an update on the state’s coronavirus vaccination effort. DHEC says that, as of Thursday morning, 39,100 coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered in South Carolina.

The state of South Carolina received their first doses of the vaccine on December 14, and officials have been working since then to get them in the arms of its residents.

DHEC also acknowledged the challenges they have faced and will continue to face as vaccine distribution continues. These challenges include logistical hurdles with the need for the Pfizer vaccine to be kept at ultra-low temperatures, changes in federal guidance and limited supply.

DHEC says that we are currently in phase 1a of vaccine distribution, which focuses on health care workers and residents in long-term care facilities. DHEC says officials are working on translating into phase 1b and 1c so more people who want the vaccine can receive it. They predict that phase 1a vaccinations will continue through February 2021. Officials say the state will move into phase 1b once 70% of those in phase 1a have been vaccinated. Authorities also expect to move into phase 2 of distribution in the spring of 2021 with vaccines being available to the general public in the summer and fall of 2021.

The phases for vaccine distribution are as follows:

Phase 1a

  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Healthcare personnel (with initial focus on healthcare workers critical to the mission of preventing death), including:
    • Persons performing direct medical care to suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 patients: medical house staff (i.e., interns, residents, fellows), nurses, nurse’s aides, physical therapists (PT), physicians, physician assistants, respiratory therapists (RT), speech pathologists providing swallowing assessments during a patient’s infectious period, occupational therapists, translators with direct patient contact, students (medical, nursing, PT, RT)
    • Ancillary staff directly interacting with suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 patients: laboratory personnel handing potentially infectious specimens, phlebotomists, and radiology technicians
    • Emergency room staff in the above categories who provide direct patient care who are at high risk of exposure to undiagnosed, suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 patients
    • Paid and volunteer medical first responders (EMS, fire department, and law enforcement personnel who provide emergency medical services as certified EMTs or paramedics) and hospital transport personnel in direct contact with suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 patients
    • Persons providing direct medical care in correctional facilities
    • Persons providing direct medical care in dialysis and infusion centers
    • Workers in outpatient medical settings treating persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection
    • Workers in settings where monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 infusions are given
    • Home health and Hospice workers
    • Public health nurses/personnel at risk for COVID-19 exposure
    • Autopsy room staff, coroners, embalmers, and funeral home staff at risk of exposure to bodily fluids
    • Dentists and dental hygienists and assistants

Phase 1b

  • Persons aged 75 years and older (with or without underlying health conditions)
  • Frontline essential workers (sectors included by ACIP include fire fighters, law enforcement officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector—teachers, support staff, and daycare workers)

Phase 1c

  • Essential workers not included in Phase 1b (examples included by ACIP include people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health staff who are non-frontline healthcare workers)
  • Persons aged 65-74 years (with or without underlying health conditions)
  • Persons aged 16-64 years with underlying health conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 (more information to follow from the SC COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee)

 

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