COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has released more details on how those under Phase 1-A can schedule an appointment and get their vaccine.
Many of those under Phase 1-A are working to get the vaccine or schedule an appointment to get one before the governor’s deadline.
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On Tuesday, Gov. Henry McMaster said that those in Phase 1-A have until Jan. 15 to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or make an appointment to receive it. If not, “you will have to go to the back of the line,” the governor said, noting the deadline is an effort to get the vaccine out to the people faster.
DHEC will then evaluate supply and demand for the vaccine before they determine when to move to Phase 1-B.
As of Wednesday, South Carolina has received 129,675 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and 52,168 healthcare workers in Phase 1-A have received that first dose.
DHEC announced on Wednesday that nearly 70,000 Phase 1-A healthcare workers are currently scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The agency estimates that there are around 350,000 people who fall under Phase 1-A.
South Carolina employers of Phase 1-A workers are encouraged to reach out to local hospitals as soon as possible with a roster of employees who want to be vaccinated.
DHEC added that individuals in Phase 1-A who want to be vaccinated should contact their local or nearest hospital to request an appointment. Individuals who make an appointment may need to present credentials to verify that they fall under Phase 1-A, which may include a badge card, license or personalized letter from an employer.
“As we work to ramp up vaccination operations across the state, it’s important to understand the number of doses is currently limited in South Carolina like in all states,” said DHEC’s interim Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler. “Phase 1a eligible South Carolinians include hundreds of thousands of individuals, which is much larger than the current doses of vaccine we have. We continue to ask people to be as patient as you can while you work to schedule your appointment to be vaccinated.”
During a news briefing on Wednesday, Traxler added that DHEC is talking about other ways to get the vaccine out quickly to other phases.
“Drive-thru is a potential that’s being explored. We are still looking at it in relation to the 15-minute period that’s needed after receiving the vaccine. We are also looking at basically a scheduling type system, either online or by telephone or some hybrid thereof,” Traxler explained.
She said as the state gets closer to Phase 1-B, DHEC will provide more information on different options for how people can arrange to get the vaccine, along with specifically where to go.
DHEC has also added a Care Line to help with general questions about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine. Staff will answer calls between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. That number is 1-855-472-3432.