McMaster: All South Carolinians age 16 and up eligible for COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 31

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– In a statement released Friday, Governor Henry McMaster announced that all South Carolinians 16-years-old and up will be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine, beginning March 31. The governor says those 16 and older can begin making appointments on Wednesday.

“Our priority with the vaccine has been to save the lives of those at the greatest risk of dying. By staying the course and resisting distractions, we’ve expanded South Carolinians’ access and eligibility for vaccinations faster than originally anticipated,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our state’s health care professionals, we are now able to make the vaccine available to anyone who wants it, and to do so ahead of schedule.”

Since entering phase 1b of the state’s vaccination plan on March 8, officials say 419,816 total vaccine doses have been administered in the state.

“We started by making vaccine available to those who were most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19; the elderly, those with high risk of exposure at work, and those with medical conditions that worsen the effects of COVID-19,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “Today, about a year after the COVID-19 crisis began, we are now able to offer three very safe and effective vaccines to all South Carolina residents over the age of 16 – another step on our path to take control of COVID-19 instead of it controlling us and getting back to normal. ”

Health officials also took the chance to thank those who have worked so hard to vaccinate South Carolinians.

“Thanks to the outstanding work of many people, including volunteers, community groups, vaccine providers, and especially the people of South Carolina, we have given over 1.8 million doses of vaccine to over 1.1 million South Carolinians in just over three months, said Simmer.”

You can make your appointment by visiting scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine/covid-19-vaccine-appointments.

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