South Carolina begins Phase 1B of vaccine distribution, some teachers already getting their shots

COLUMBIA (WOLO): A majority of South Carolinians now have access to a COVID-19 vaccine Monday. That includes those aged 55 and older, anyone 16 and older with high risk medical conditions, and front-line workers with high occupational risk.

As this phase begins, DHEC says vaccine demand still significantly outweighs supply in South Carolina and across the country. As vaccine doses begin to increase in the coming weeks and months, more people will be able to get their shots more quickly.

Nicole Czekalski, however, was able to sign up and get her first dose on Sunday. She is a high school dance teacher, but for the last year, most of her students have been dancing in their bedrooms.

Czekalski describes her experience the last several months teaching dance virtually. “It’s had its moments of light and kind of brilliance and the kids persevering through, but it’s very hard. And it’s not ideal to teach dance on the computer.”

Also involved with SC for ED, Czekalski advocated for teachers to be prioritized in South Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and finally, she received the shot so many have been waiting for. “No side effects, thus far. My arm hurts. But other than that, not stuffy nose or fever or anything.”

Richland School District Two Superintendent Dr. Baron Davis says the district partnered with Providence hospital and they’re working hard to set up a mass vaccination site for school staff.

“We’re gonna have a two day vaccination plan where our staff will come through on Thursday and Friday March 25th and 26th at one central location to do their vaccination,” said Dr. Davis. 

A majority of the district’s staff has already signed up to get their shot. “We have about 3800 employees. We have about 2600 saying they want to use this service to get their vaccinations. These shots will be administered by our school nurses who have been trained to administer the vaccine.”

 “It’s a huge big step in the right direction. I think for us to be able to have school normally and provide opportunities for our students, and I think the more of us that can get vaccinated and get back in school normally with full classrooms and productions is for the best,” said Czekalski.

DHEC says when scheduling appointments, vaccine providers may ask Phase 1B individuals some background questions, but there is no requirement to prove either your underlying health condition or risk level from your job. They’re asking all South Carolinians to be honest and to not skip the line, as doing so can take away a life-saving vaccine from someone who needs it most.



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