COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster says the state must prioritize saving lives in the COVID-19 pandemic by first protecting South Carolinians “at greatest risk of dying and those who keep them — and the rest of us — alive.”
The governor made the comments on Sunday afternoon on his Twitter account amid a continuing outcry from teachers and education groups who want teachers moved to the top of the line.
“Our teachers will be vaccinated soon but not at the expense of those who are so much more likely to die without the vaccine,” McMaster said on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
It was the second time Sunday he posted about the controversy. He posted a video clip from last week’s news conference Sunday morning in which he called moving teachers up ahead of those he says are more vulnerable “unethical, immoral, and absolutely unacceptable.”
“We have prioritized vaccinating our teachers by placing them in phase 1B,” he said on Twitter Sunday morning. “We are working as quickly as we can to keep the line moving and transition to our next phase.”
Currently, the state is in its Phase 1A of the vaccine rollout, which makes frontline healthcare workers and staffers and residents of long-term care facilities eligible to receive the vaccine. The state opened up eligibility to those 70 and older, regardless of health factors weeks ago.
Last week, McMaster announced those who are 65 to 69 will be eligible to sign up as of Monday.
But teachers, who are set to be eligible when Phase 1B begins, hoped they would also be moved up to the front of the line.
There has been no word on a specific date at which Phase 1B will begin from state health officials. DHEC’s website lists Phase 1B as opening up in “early spring.”