COLUMBIA, S.C. — There are several tips people should keep in mind when signing up to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
On Monday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and Governor Henry McMaster announced people 70 years old or older will be next in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
DHEC made this decision in part because they believe the majority of people in Phase 1a who want the vaccine have either already received it or have made an appointment for a vaccination.
In the state, there are 146,500 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. More than 82,000 doses have already been administered. An additional 94,000 appointments have been made.
In a release from SCDHEC, Governor McMaster said, "Because we’ve seen a dramatic acceleration in vaccine usage and appointments in the last week, we have decided to speed things up again. We know that those 70 and older are at the greatest risk of dying from COVID-19. Making sure they have expedited access to the vaccine will help save lives.”
Dr. Brannon Traxler, the Interim Director of Public Health, also added, "Based on current data, the mortality rate from COVID-19 for those 70 and older in South Carolina is approximately 655 deaths per 100,000 individuals. For those under the age of 70, there are approximately 37 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 individuals. This is a staggering comparison and illustrates why vaccinating this population next is critically important in our mission to save lives.”
Health officials say more than 67% of deaths in South Carolina from the coroanvirus have been among people who are 70 and older.
Starting Wednesday, January 13, those who are 70 and older will be able to schedule an appointment to get the vaccine.
SCDHEC has created a website which includes an online map showing all of the locations that are accepting vaccination appointments.
People will also be able to call DHEC's Care line to receive help finding contact information so they can make an appointment. The number to call is 1-855-472-3432. The Care Line won't be able to schedule appointments.
The Care Line will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. People need to keep in mind the hours of the location people are trying to schedule an appoint at may be different.
DHEC wants to remind people that they need to schedule appointments for the vaccine instead of doing walk-ins.
There will be several things people will need to bring with them to their appointment when they get the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes a driver's license or another form of ID that will indicate your age. Health officials say an individual doesn't have to be a South Carolina resident in order to receive the vaccine.
SCDHEC said in a press release, "South Carolina, like all states, currently has limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine. Some locations that offer vaccine may not have an appointment available for several weeks, depending on their vaccine supply. Facilities receive doses of vaccine each week from the federal government."
Health officials believe people should schedule their second appointment for the second dose of the vaccine as soon as possible. Individuals will need to receive the same vaccine in the second dose that they received in the first.