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Anyone over 65 now eligible to get COVID vaccine in South Carolina

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster adding that new age group means another 300,000 residents in the state can get the vaccine.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Anyone over the age of 65 can get the coronavirus vaccine in South Carolina as of now.

Monday was the first day that people between 65 and 69 could register for the shot, regardless if they have preexisting conditions. Previously, only people 70 or older were eligible. 

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster adding that new age group means another 300,000 residents in the state can get the vaccine.

RELATED: How to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina if you're over 65+

DHEC’s online tool at scdhec.gov/vaxlocator shows locations currently accepting appointments for COVID-19 vaccine and provides contact information for scheduling appointments at those locations. DHEC also has a information line people can call at 1-866-365-8110 The service is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week  

SCDHEC says 81.7 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state have been people age 65 or older. The average age of a COVID-related death is 75. 

McMaster said he is prioritizing seniors for now amid a call for teachers to be vaccinated now. 

RELATED: SC governor says ethics, morality means seniors must be vaccinated over teachers

"We have a limited supply of the vaccines and our priority is to give those vaccines to the places where they'll do the most good," he said. "What ethics and morality calls for is to protect our senior citizens who are the one who are at most danger and high risk of getting the disease and dying. The average age of people who have died in our state is 75 years old. Over 88 percent of the people who have died are 61 or older. If we take younger, healthy people and put them in front  of our seniors then we are depriving the people who may die from the disease of that protection and giving it to someone is not going to die and might not even get sick. That is the wrong way to go and we're not going to do that in South Carolina."