Politics · January 11, 2021

SC Governor Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments for Aged 70+

South Carolinians Aged 70 and Older Can Schedule COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments Beginning Jan. 13

COLUMBIA, SC (STL.News) Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced that beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13, any South Carolina resident aged 70 or older, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions, can begin scheduling their appointment to receive COVID-19 vaccine.

Based on COVID-19 vaccine data — doses received, administered, and appointments scheduled — South Carolina officials are confident the majority of people in Phase 1a who want to be vaccinated have either received their shots or have scheduled appointments to do so.  There are currently 146,500 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the state, with 82,266 total doses already administered (a 56 percent utilization rate) plus 94,926 appointments scheduled by Phase 1a individuals to receive their vaccine over the next several weeks.

Additional steps to expedite access to additional South Carolinians will be made based on the use of the vaccine, the number of appointments made, and information on vaccine supply.

“Because we’ve seen a dramatic acceleration in vaccine usage and appointments in the last week, we have decided to speed things up again,” said Gov. Henry McMaster.  “We know that those 70 and older are at the greatest risk of dying from COVID-19.  Making sure they have expedited access to the vaccine will help save lives.”

“While COVID-19 vaccine is currently limited in South Carolina, like it is in all states, our providers continue to receive ongoing weekly shipments of vaccine from the federal government,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Director of Public Health.  “When evaluating supply versus demand and as the rate of vaccines coming into the state increases compared to the rate of appointments being scheduled, we believe it is appropriate to begin scheduling appointments for additional South Carolinians. Based on current data, the mortality rate from COVID-19 for those 70 and older in South Carolina is approximately 655 deaths per 100,000 individuals.  For those under the age of 70, there are approximately 37 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 individuals.  This is a staggering comparison and illustrates why vaccinating this population next is critically important in our mission to save lives.”

More than 67 percent of COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina have been among those 70 and older.

It’s estimated there are roughly 627,800 South Carolinians aged 70 or older in South Carolina, with many already receiving their vaccine through other Phase 1a eligibility.

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