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LIST: COVID-19 vaccine phases, who falls under each phase, timeline

Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 3:41 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is steadily moving along as more vaccines are sent to the Palmetto State.

In Dec. 2020, the state received its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine and started administering the doses to critical frontline healthcare workers.

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The complex rollout plan prioritizes those who are at the greatest risk of suffering serious illness or death if they contract the virus, while also ensuring equal access to every South Carolinian.

Since December, South Carolina has remained under the Phase 1a plan.

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On Tuesday, Gov. Henry McMaster and Dr. Edward Simmer, the director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, released new information on exactly who falls under Phase 1b, along with a timeline on when other phases will be able to potentially receive the vaccine. It’s important that time estimates are subject to change based on vaccine availability and demand.

Below is a list of the current phases, who falls under each phase and the timeline, according to DHEC:

  • 70+ year olds, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions
  • 65+ year olds, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions
  • Anesthesiology assistants, registered cardiovascular invasive specialists, and operating room staff
  • Athletic Trainers
  • American Sign Language (ASL) 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 (MCC) 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 (LTCF) 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

Estimated Population of Phase 1a: 1,296,246

  • Anyone aged 55 and up
  • People with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • People aged 16-64 with one or more of the following high-risk medical conditions:
  • 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
  • Frontline workers with increased occupational risk
  • Frontline workers with increased occupational risk are people who:
  • Individuals at increased risk in settings where people are living and working in close contact
  • 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 and were not vaccinated in Phase 1a

Estimated Population of Phase 1b: Approximately 2.7 million

  • Anyone aged 45 and up
  • Essential workers
  • This group includes those who work in essential job categories as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who are not included in Phase 1b because they do not have frequent, close contact with others in the work environment (examples may include construction workers, delivery drivers, utility workers, etc. who do not have frequent, close and ongoing contact with others)

Estimated Population of Phase 1c: Approximately 1.9 million

Phase 2 includes:

  • All South Carolinians aged 16 and up

Estimated Population of Phase 2: Remaining population not already vaccinated

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