S.C.’s Vaccine Advisory Committee considers who should be in Phase 1-B

Updated: Jan. 7, 2021 at 9:14 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - South Carolina’s Vaccine Advisory Committee is discussing and deliberating who to recommend be part of a finalized list in Phase 1-B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

DHEC began posting the agenda and recording for the committee’s weekly meeting this week.

As the state moves through Phase 1-A of distribution, many are anxiously awaiting what exactly the next phase will look like.

Though Phase 1-B has not been solidified yet, the CDC’s advisory panel (ACIP) has decided on this guidance:

  • All people aged 75 years and older
  • Frontline essential workers Sectors included by ACIP: firefighters, law enforcement officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, USPS workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector—teachers, support staff, and daycare workers

DHEC’s own advisory committee is working off of this guidance to specify and clarify what distribution should look like in South Carolina.

The following is a working list DHEC officials presented to the committee Wednesday, which includes clarification of some specific populations determined should also be included in Phase 1-B.

There are other workers outside of this list that are not included due to already being discussed in past meetings. This includes people like K-12 educators.

  • Three categories in Phase 1-B:
  • YES, meets the frontline essential worker definition for 1-B:

Dr. Linda Bell, DHEC’s state epidemiologist, estimated that 350,000 people are included in Phase 1-A. An estimate for Phase 1-B includes about one million people. Phase 1-C could include roughly 3 million people.

These three phases include the majority of the state’s population before finally transitioning to Phase 2, where vaccine would be available to anyone who wants it.

It’s not clear when DHEC will release a finalized list for Phase 1-B.

“We had anticipated in being in Phase 1-A until February – the governor’s directive may change that. We had anticipated in being in Phase 1-B through the winter and possibly into March, taking at least a couple of months to reach those individuals,” Bell said. “We may not be able to vaccinate the general public until the early spring and on, depending on how quickly we move through this.

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