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Phase 1B expands vaccination access to most SC residents

The vaccine will be available to more South Carolina residents starting March 8.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Phases to get the COVID vaccine are being expanded so more people can get vaccinated. Now, frontline and essential workers are on the list starting March 8th.

"I have so much joy because I feel we should've been prioritized because we are on the frontline," said Comet Driver Malcolm Carter.

RELATED: Half of all South Carolinians to be eligible for vaccine next week

According to DHEC, more than 2.7 million people are expected to be vaccinated after the governor's announcement to move forward with Phase 1B.

Those who are eligible for the shot will include:

  • 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:
      • Cancer (current, not a history of cancer), chronic kidney disease (any stage), chronic lung disease, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), Down syndrome, heart disease (congestive heart disease, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension), HIV/AIDS, solid organ transplant, obesity (BMI >30), pregnancy, sickle cell disease.
    • 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:
      • Must be in-person at their place of work, and
      • Perform a job that puts them at increased risk of exposure due to their frequent, close (less than 6 fe

RELATED: South Carolina surpasses one million COVID-19 vaccine doses given

That's good news for comet drivers like Carter, who says there's always the anxiety of being exposed to the virus.

"In the back of your mind, there is always a fear about you contracting the virus," explained Carter. "Even being safe, you still have in the back of your mind this can happen."

"Our staff is delighted to serve our customers," said Rosewood Market President Bryan Tayara We love to see them come through the doors, but there is that underlying anxiety that we will get sick. I think it's going to help ease our minds."

Tayara says the pandemic has altered the way how the grocery industry has done business. He expects this move could help them out.

"I think that will bring more people to the stores, and revenue will increase," said Tayara.

RELATED: Half of all South Carolinians to be eligible for vaccine next week