COLUMBIA, S.C. — Shipments of the coronavirus vaccine are expected as early as next week but they’ll be very limited, according to DHEC. Prisma Health told News19 they’ll be one of the first in South Carolina to receive the doses.
Spokesperson Tammie Epps said in a statement, “Prisma Health was asked by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to implement the state’s distribution plan in the Upstate when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. We also have been approved to be a distributor of the vaccine in the Midlands.”
According to CBS News, the FDA will review how safe the Pfizer vaccine is later this week and decide whether they will grant it emergency approval or not. Once it's approved, shipments will start going out across the country.
Epps said the first doses they get are reserved for their frontline health care workers, so they can continue helping patients with COVID-19. Their plan aligns with DHEC’s three phased approach for distributing the vaccine, which puts healthcare workers first in line.
DHEC has said it’ll take several shipments to vaccinate all healthcare workers in South Carolina. According to the agency’s plan, when a vaccine provider makes an order for the vaccine, it must be a minimum of 975 doses and a maximum 4,875 doses. DHEC will then approve or change the number of doses in the order if necessary.
MUSC told News19 they’ll also receive COVID-19 vaccines soon for their healthcare workers. They added, “as supply becomes more readily available, MUSC Health will offer the vaccine to community essential workers and high-risk patients in early 2021.”
Prisma Health said they'll also cover first responders and essential workers early next year and hope to start offering the vaccine to the general public closer to summertime.