South Carolina is starting to catch up to neighboring states in the race for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
On Wednesday, Gov. Henry McMaster announced that South Carolina residents 65 and older can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment starting Monday Feb. 8.
“With increased vaccine allocations from the federal government and a streamlined, statewide vaccination plan, it is now appropriate to expand the number of South Carolinians eligible to receive vaccine,” the release from the Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) said. “However, supply of the vaccine remains limited for the time being.”
As FITSNews reported earlier this week, we’ve seen a lot of reports of South Carolinians traveling to Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia, where adults have been eligible to receive the vaccine.
The release said SCDHEC officials are also working to give access to other South Carolinians who need the vaccine — including teachers.
“We have a moral and ethical duty to first vaccinate the South Carolinians who are at the highest risk of dying from the virus,” McMaster said. “At this time, placing a younger person between a senior citizen and what could be their lifesaving shot would be unconscionable and irresponsible. Today’s action will save lives and allow our teachers to be vaccinated next.”
As SCDHEC noted in their news release, more than 81 percent of COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina have been those over 65. The new announcement gives approximately 309,000 South Carolinians access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As we evaluate supply versus demand and as the rate of vaccines coming into the state increases, we believe it is appropriate to begin scheduling appointments for additional South Carolinians,” DHEC Acting Director Marshall Taylor said. “While every South Carolinian will have a chance to get the vaccine, it’s important to understand the availability of vaccine is limited in South Carolina, like in all states.”
To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, visit scdhec.gov/vaxlocator or call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110.
Vaccine Numbers Improving
As of Feb. 2, South Carolina had received a modest 12,818 doses for every 100,000 of its citizens according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means we are second to last in the nation, next to Idaho, for the number of vaccines received.
When it comes to doses administered per 100,000 citizens, however, the Palmetto State has shown dramatic improvement in recent weeks. As of Feb. 2, the state had administered 9,142 doses per 100,000 citizens – which makes South Carolina average in comparison to the 50 states.
When we first began tracking this metric, South Carolina ranked No. 48 nationally in this metric.
Given the low number of doses distributed to the state, that is an impressive turnaround. In fact, South Carolina has actually administered a higher number of vaccines per 100,000 citizens than neighboring Georgia (8,854) – even though the Peach State has received significantly more doses (14,666) per 100,000 than the Palmetto State.
Also, as we previously reported, more vaccines are on the way …
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