COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – Soon, nearly everyone in South Carolina will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) held a statewide briefing to make the announcement Friday afternoon.
Governor Henry McMaster and the DHEC announced Friday that all South Carolinians aged 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 31, 2021 and can begin scheduling their appointments as of next Wednesday.
“On Wednesday, next Wednesday, March 31, anyone 16 years and older in South Carolina will be able to begin to receive the vaccine,” Nick Davidson, the Senior Deputy for Public Health at DHEC, said.
According to Davidson, DHEC is now receiving an increased allocation of doses from the federal government.
“With todays announcement there’s certainly no doubt that we will take as much vaccine as we can get our hands on,” Davidson said.
This paired with a successful roll out of Phase 1B has allowed DHEC to make this change. Doctors said currently there are available appointments with providers that were full in previous weeks.
“In the meantime we need everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine to do your part by scheduling and keeping your appointment,” Davidson said.
Meanwhile, Prisma continues to pivot from a focus on testing to a focus on vaccinations.
“Prisma health has administered more than 283,600 vaccines. That is over a quarter of a million vaccines administered,” Dr. Saria Saccocio with Prisma Health said.
Prisma will now be closing several drive-thru testing sites across the Upstate.
“Demand for hospital drive-thru testing has substantially decreased. We’ve reassigned many of our team members who were assigned to testing to the vaccination effort,” Saccocio said.
Prisma expects to receive about 8,000 more doses of vaccine for next week than it did last week, and DHEC said it has administered more than 23,000 doses a day since Phase 1B was opened on March 8th.
The state will also be partnering with Publix pharmacies to help with the rollout.
“When it’s your turn we recommend getting any vaccine offered to you,” Davidson said.
And when it comes to getting vaccinated, DHEC doctors say any version of the vaccine is safe and effective.
“The best vaccine is the one that’s in your arm,” Davidson said.
Currently, Pfizer is the only vaccine available to those aged 16-18. All three vaccines—Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen—are available to those aged 18 and older.
You can also still find testing sites by using this DHEC locator.