Gov. McMaster expands vaccine distribution to Phase 1B beginning Monday

COLUMBIA (WOLO): Governor McMaster and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Tuesday said due to an increase in vaccine supply and the hard work of South Carolinians, on Monday, March 8th, those aged 55 years and older, people with high risk medical conditions, and even our teachers and school staff can begin scheduling their appointments.

Governor Henry McMaster said, “we are now in a position to make the majority of South Carolinians eligible to receive the vaccine.”

Governor McMaster and DHEC announcing the encouraging news Tuesday, less than one week before the state moves to Phase 1B. “Individuals aged 55 and above, individuals aged 16 to 64 with high risk medical conditions, including but not limited to the following: cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes, down syndrome, heart disease, among others,” explained McMaster. 

Also on the list- front-line workers with increased occupational risk, including K-12 and higher education employees. While it’s not the priority teachers and school staff were hoping for, State Superintendent of school, Molly Spearman said she’s grateful for the step forward, and is now calling on all school districts to implement a 5 day a week plan immediately.

“The vaccination plans that every school district has in place with vaccine providers can now be put into place. Every family in South Carolina must be given the opportunity to send their children to school 5 days a week face to face. This vaccine will help you keep your schools safely open by eliminating staff quarantines,” said Spearman. 

South Carolina is expected to receive 41 thousand doses of the new Janssen vaccine by week’s end, restoring a little bit of hope for a return to normalcy in just a few months.

DHEC Director, Dr. Edward Simmer said, “our anticipation is that by summer every South Carolinian will have had access to this vaccine, and hopefully will be close to herd immunity by then, and with that we can start to return to normalcy and really focus on not having to wear the mask and do the social distancing.”

DHEC also anticipates Phase 1C will begin by April 12th, which includes people 45 years and older, and other essential workers.

 

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