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Type one and two diabetes included in Phase 1B rollout

Diabetes patients say it's a welcome relief they can now get their COVID-19 vaccine.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina will enter Phase 1b of the vaccine next week, a massive expansion of those who will be able to get the COVID-19 shot.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, alongside DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer, and Schools Superintendent Molly Spearman, made the announcement Tuesday that the state would enter the Phase 1b on March 8.

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

Among those eligible to get the vaccine in Phase 1b are people with type one and type two diabetes. Jamie Barrett is one of them.

Barrett says while celebrating her 35th birthday, she "couldn't understand why I was stopping to drink water all the time." In 2002, the ballroom dancer was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. "They diagnosed me with adult onset juvenile diabetes."

Barrett monitors her insulin levels using an app on her phone, an app she says, she monitors religiously. "I currently wear a Omnipod insulin pump and a dexcom glucose 6 monitor."

Beginning Monday, Barrett and many others will be able to get the COVID vaccines.

RELATED: Phase 1B expands vaccination access to most SC residents

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Helmut Albrecht says those with Down Syndrome, heart disease, HIV/AIDS and obesity are also eligible. "55 years and older, and people between 16 and 55 who have medical conditions," Albrecht said. "This is an estimated 2.7 million people."

Albrecht says while the lines may be longer and people may not be able to book next-day appointments, there will be enough vaccine to vaccinate all these people.

Luis Malave also has type one diabetes. He says what makes his condition much more serious is that he also has pre-existing lung conditions.

Malave says he will be scheduling his appointment first thing on Monday. "I am thrilled and very happy. They actually found something that's going to combat what's detrimental to my health."

To learn more about who is eligible to get the vaccine in Phase 1b, click HERE