COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), there are now more than 900 different locations offering COVID-19 vaccines in the state.
This comes just a few days before Phase 1-B of the state’s vaccination plan begins. Starting Monday, more than 2 million people in South Carolina will become eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Nick Davidson, DHEC Senior Deputy for Public Health, reflected on where the state was a year ago during a media briefing Friday. He said, “March 5th, 2020, was a historic day even though we didn’t know it at the time. That was the last day we could say there were no cases of the novel coronavirus in South Carolina.”
The next day, DHEC confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in the state. In the last year, there have been more than 500,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and more than 8,000 lives lost.
Davidson and other state health officials said there is light at the end of the tunnel. More than 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in South Carolina.
He said, “We owe it to our scientists, medical experts, dedicated staff in the field and so many people who dedicate their lives to developing vaccines that save our lives.”
DHEC said 70-80% of the population needs to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. In the mean time, Assistant State Epidemiologist Dr. Jane Kelly said South Carolinians must continue to follow health and safety protocols.
She said, “We have renewed hope with the arrival of vaccine that we can defeat this deadly virus. Especially with new variants that may be more transmissible that our circulating, we don’t want to let the pressure off now, we don’t want to let our guards down.”
According to state health officials, they will begin allocating vaccine supply regionally next week. This was mandated after lawmakers passed a vaccine funding relief bill last month.