COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has published an updated version of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan ahead of the anticipated first doses to be sent into the state by the end of December 2020.
A DHEC spokesperson said the updated version of the interim plan, which had been approved of by federal officials after being received mid-October, mostly deals with logistics of distributing the vaccine.
The plan elaborates and clarifies language on the phases of distribution and the game plan of how to get the vaccine to its appropriate provider.
Enrolled vaccine providers will have to be activated by DHEC during Phase 1, which will be based in part on an enrolled provider’s ability to administer at least 975 doses to priority populations within 10 days (priority populations are defined as “persons employed by or served by the facility, or from the surrounding community, and/or any combination of such”); and help distribute and administer the vaccine to smaller sites that will reach priority populations.
According to the amended plan, enrolled vaccine providers in the state will request doses through the CDC’s Vaccine Administration Management System (otherwise known as VAMS). DHEC will review the population served by the provider before approving.
A minimum order volume for what’s called Vaccine A (which is believed to be Pfizer) must be 975 doses but can extend to 4,875 doses. Vaccine B, believed to be referencing the Moderna vaccine, requires a 100 doses minimum order but maxes out at 1,200 doses.
Each jurisdiction, federal agency, and commercial partner will receive weekly allocations (order caps) in the CDC’s online ordering system, Vaccine Tracking System (VTrckS). Once orders are approved, vaccines will be delivered with federal ancillary kits automatically added.
Along with the vaccine, the federal ancillary kits will include diluent and administration materials, such as needles, syringes, alcohol swabs and limited personal protective equipment.
COVID-19 providers will have to update their vaccine inventory daily on Vaccine Finder.
During Phase 1, a pharmacy partnership with CVS and Walgreens is anticipated to provide vaccination services to long-term care facilities (LTCFs), which were recently added to Phase 1-A of South Carolina’s distribution plan.
“The program provides end-to-end management of the COVID-19 vaccination process, including cold-chain management, on-site vaccination (i.e. provides ancillary supplies), and fulfillment of reporting requirements,” the plan said about the pharmacy partnership.
DHEC will be able to activate the program on behalf of the state and will decide on the vaccine type used for LTCFs. The program also entails withholding vaccine doses from the state’s overall allocation for CVS and Walgreens.
The plan also states that DHEC will be the one to develop plans to vaccinate residents of South Carolina veterans’ nursing homes, along with facilities that are outside of a CVS or Walgreens service area.
The updated interim plan finds more details on the Phase 2 part of the distribution plan, which is when DHEC predicts a large number of doses will be available and vaccine supply will meet the demand.
It shows that DHEC plans to recruit and enroll more vaccine providers to help vaccinate the general population, which include recruiting non-traditional vaccine providers and settings, such as college/universities, homeless shelters, independent living communities, dentist offices and ophthalmologists.
During Phase 2, federal entities in South Carolina will also enroll directly with the CDC to order, receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
Federal entities in South Carolina include:
- Bureau of Prisons:
- Bennettsville FCI
- Edgefield FCI
- Estill FCI
- Williamsburg FCI
- Department of Defense:
- Fort Jackson US Army Training Center
- McEntire Joint National Guard Base
- Shaw Air Force Base
- Joint Base Charleston
- Paris Island Marine Recruit Depot
- Beaufort Marine Air Station
- Department of State
- Indian Health Services
- Catawba Nation
- Veterans’ Health Administration
South Carolina will also synchronize and coordinate vaccination efforts with federal pharmacy partners in order to improve vaccination coverage.
Those federal pharmacy partners include:
- Walgreens – Servicing LTCFs in Phase 1
- CVS – Servicing LTCFs in Phase 1
- Walmart Stores, Inc. (including Sam’s)
- The Kroger Store (i.e. Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Frys, Ralphs, King Soopers, Smiths, City Market, Dillons, Marianos, Pick-n-Save, Copps, Metro Market)
- Retail Business Services (i.e., Food Lion, Giant Food)
WMBF Investigates is continuing to take a deep dive into DHEC’S plans for distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. Stay with our Forging Ahead series for the latest updates.
South Carolina’s updated interim vaccine distribution plan below: