DHEC: All SC residents age 70 and over can schedule COVID-19 vaccinations starting Wednesday

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– On Monday, Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced that, beginning Wednesday, South Carolinians age 70 and older can make appointments to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Officials say residents 70-years-old and up can receive the vaccine regardless of their health status or preexisting conditions.

The vaccines will be administered at several locations including several hospitals, DHEC sites, DHEC mobile sites and 12 Doctor’s Cares locations. To receive a vaccine, you must make an appointment beforehand. Appointments can be scheduled online here or by calling the DHEC Care Line at 1-855-472-3432.

Officials say the move comes as they believe that the majority of those included in phase 1a of the state’s vaccine plan have either received the vaccine or scheduled an appointment to be vaccinated. Additionally, officials cite now as being a critical time to get vaccines in the arms of the state’s most vulnerable population.

“While COVID-19 vaccine is currently limited in South Carolina, like it is in all states, our providers continue to receive ongoing weekly shipments of vaccine from the federal government,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Director of Public Health. “When evaluating supply versus demand and as the rate of vaccines coming into the state increases compared to the rate of appointments being scheduled, we believe it is appropriate to begin scheduling appointments for additional South Carolinians. Based on current data, the mortality rate from COVID-19 for those 70 and older in South Carolina is approximately 655 deaths per 100,000 individuals. For those under the age of 70, there are approximately 37 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 individuals. This is a staggering comparison and illustrates why vaccinating this population next is critically important in our mission to save lives.”

According to officials, more than 76% of the state’s coronavirus related deaths have come from those 70-years-old and up.

DHEC says there are 146,500 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the state, with 82,266 total doses already administered.

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