SC governor set to give vaccine eligibility update ‘very soon’

SC governor set to give vaccine eligibility update ‘very soon’
Gov. Henry McMaster, seen here touring a vaccine clinic in Sumter earlier this month, is expected to provide an update on vaccine eligibility "very soon," his spokesman said.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to provide an update on eligibility for the COVID-19 “very soon,” according to his spokesman.

Gubernatorial spokesman Brian Symmes did not say when that announcement would come. The update is expected to set a date for when all adults in the state would be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The current timeline estimates that would happen on May 3, but that could change based on the governor’s announcement.

As of Monday, 1.1 million South Carolinians, approximately 27.1% of the state’s population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

DHEC data reveals that figure includes 650,493 doses of Pfizer vaccine and 426,801 doses of the Moderna vaccine, both of which require two doses; and 22,699 of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, also known as the Janssen vaccine, which requires only a single dose.

DHEC says a total of 593,871 people in the state are fully vaccinated. That represents 14.5% of the state’s population, DHEC says.

Phases 1A, 1B currently open

People in Phases 1A and 1B of the state’s vaccine rollout plan can currently make appointments to receive the vaccine.

Those two phases cover the following people:

  • People 55 and older
  • People between the ages of 16 and 54 with one or more of the following high-risk medical conditions: cancer (current, not a history of cancer), chronic kidney disease (any stage), chronic lung disease, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), Down syndrome, heart disease (congestive heart disease, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension), HIV/AIDS, solid organ transplant, obesity (BMI >30), pregnancy, sickle cell disease.
  • People who have a developmental or other severe high-risk disability that makes developing severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection more likely
  • Mission-Critical workers:
    • Anesthesiology assistants, registered cardiovascular invasive specialists, and operating room staff
    • Athletic Trainers
    • American Sign Language and other interpreters in healthcare facilities
    • Autopsy room staff, coroners, embalmers, and funeral home staff at risk of exposure to bodily fluids
    • Chiropractors
    • Dentists and dental hygienists and technicians
    • Dietary and food services staff in healthcare facilities
    • Environmental services staff in healthcare facilities
    • Harbor pilots
    • Home caregivers for children who have a tracheostomy, are ventilator-dependent or who have a Medically Complex Children’s Waiver. The Medically Complex Children’s Waiver is a statewide program to serve children who meet either Nursing Facility or Intermediate Care Facility-Intellectually Disabled level of care and medical criteria. Requires a medical provider’s signed attestation to confirm caregiver meets criteria.
    • Home health and hospice workers
    • Hospital transport personnel
    • Hospital inpatients 65 and older
    • Laboratory personnel and phlebotomists
    • Licensed dietitians
    • Long-Term Care Facility residents and staff
    • Medical assistants
    • Medical first responders (paid and volunteer): EMS; fire department and law enforcement personnel who provide emergency medical care
    • Nurses, nurse practitioners, and nurse’s aides/ assistants
    • Opticians and optometrists and assistants/ technicians
    • Persons providing medical care in correctional facilities and correctional officers
    • Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
    • Physical and occupational therapists and assistants
    • Physicians, including medical house staff (i.e., interns, residents, fellows), and physician assistants
    • Podiatrists
    • Public health healthcare workers who are frequently interacting with persons with potential COVID-19 infection
    • Radiology technicians
    • Respiratory care practitioners, such as respiratory therapists
    • Speech language pathologists and assistants and audiologists
    • State/local government employees and their contractors who are mission-critical for maintaining operations of COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in SC
    • Students and interns of the above categories
  • Frontline workers who perform a job that puts them at increased risk of exposure because of their frequent, close and ongoing contact with others in the work environment. Examples may include school staff and daycare workers, criminal justice staff, government employees, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, and law enforcement officers.
  • Residents and workers in group home settings for the mentally or physically disabled or those with behavioral or substance abuse conditions
  • Workers and residents in homeless shelters
  • Workers and residents in community training homes
  • State and local correctional facility staff with direct inmate contact
  • Correctional and immigration detention facility inmates
  • Migrant farmworkers living in shared housing or reliant on shared transportation
  • All workers in healthcare and community health settings who have routine, direct patient contact

DHEC said Phase 1C is not yet open, but would include people 45 and older and those who work in essential job categories but do not have frequent, close contact with others in the work environment, including construction workers, delivery drivers and utility workers.

DHEC previously estimated Phase 1C would open on April 12.

The final phase, Phase 2, is expected to open on May 3 and to include all South Carolinians 16 and older.

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