GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Tuesday morning, Governor Henry McMaster laid out plans that will eventually allow all adults in South Carolina to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Starting Monday, March 8, if you’re 55 or older, you can book an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
But Phase 1B applies to more than those who are 55 and older. It actually includes millions of South Carolinians.
According to a press release from the Governor’s office, it includes:
- 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 feet) and ongoing (more than 15 minutes) contact with others in the work environment
- (Examples of frontline workers include, but are not limited to, school staff and daycare workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, law enforcement officers, etc.)
- Individuals at increased risk in settings where people are living and working in close contact
- Residents and workers in group home settings for the mentally or physically disabled or those with behavioral or substance abuse conditions
- Workers and residents in homeless shelters
- Workers and residents in community training homes
- State and local correctional facility staff with direct inmate contact
- Correctional and immigration detention facility inmates
- Migrant farmworkers living in shared housing or reliant on shared transportation
- All workers in healthcare and community health settings who have routine, direct patient contact and were not vaccinated in Phase 1a.
“The city was incredibly excited to hear that we have the supply and the means to continue to vaccinate more people,” City of Greenville spokeswoman Beth Brotherton said.
This week, Brotherton said the city is launching its ‘Mask Up, Sleeves Up’ initiative, calling on citizens to do their part.
“Recognizing that our community needs to keep wearing masks, but also get the vaccine as it becomes available,” said Brotherton.
Which could lead to the new normal.
“As we look ahead to summertime— last year we had to cancel the fireworks for the Fourth of July,” Brotherton said. “What could that look like this year?”
Most event coordinators say they’re cautiously optimistic.
“We’ll take it one step at a time,” Euphoria Executive Director Morgan Allen said. “You know, we’re all hopeful. we’re all ready to get back and live our lives and get back to some normalcy, but I think that’s to be determined on what exactly that looks like in the event world.”
And because of that, expect precautions to stay in place for much of 2021.
“You know, we’re very excited to get back out on the street, but it is not without an uncompromising commitment to public safety,” Artisphere Executive Director Kerry Murphy.
“We’ll just analyze things day to day,” Greenville Drive General Manager Erik Jarinko said. “And hopefully, you know, things will get better as the season gets closer.”
Beginning April 12, those who are 45 and up become eligible, as do a broader array of essential workers.
According to that same press release, these essential workers includes “those who work in essential job categories as defined by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) who are not included in Phase 1b because they do not have frequent, close contact with others in the work environment (examples may include construction workers, delivery drivers, utility workers, etc. who do not have frequent, close and ongoing contact with others).”
By May 3, all South Carolinians ages 16 or older, regardless of occupation, become eligible to receive the vaccine.
Public Health Officials say it will take 70 to 80 percent of the population getting vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity and put an end to COVID-19.