DHEC: 7,000+ frontline medical workers vaccinated, 0 severe allergic reactions

DHEC: 7,000+ frontline medical workers vaccinated, 0 severe allergic reactions

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - There have been thousands of vaccines administered. There are still thousands and thousands to go.

In a media call on Friday, senior officials with the Department of Health and Environmental Control gave an update on the vaccine roll-out in South Carolina.

Here are the numbers:

  • 42,900 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have arrived in South Carolina
  • More than 7,000 frontline medical workers have received their first dose of the vaccine
  • DHEC has tallied 0 severe allergic reactions to the vaccine
  • An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines are expected to arrive in the state by the end of the year.

They also gave more information on when the vaccine should be administered and to whom.

Dr. Jane Kelly, Assistant State Epidemiologist, said people who have recovered from the virus should consider taking the vaccine after a waiting period of 90 days.

“It is thought that they are relatively immune to COVID-19 for 90 days after that initial infection,” she said.

Kelly said DHEC the wait will help preserve the limited vaccine supply.

Department leaders also gave more guidance on the vaccinating of long-term care residents and staff. Stephen White, DHEC Immunizations Director, said the Moderna vaccine will be used for those communities, as a matter of logistics. The Moderna vaccine does not require the level of cold storage as its Pfizer counterpart.

“This would give those facilities which are going to be mobile a better ability to transport those doses. They’re less fragile. They’re less involved. You draw out the vaccine straight from the vial,” White said.

DHEC leadership said vaccinations could start as early as the week of Dec. 28, and the process for offering the first vaccinations to staff and residents could last three to six weeks.

Dr. Brannon Traxler, interim Public Health Director, said she understands there is hesitancy and skepticism about the virus but vouched that no corners were cut in its development.

“It was through the wonderful spirit of the American people including many South Carolinians that tens of thousands of people volunteered to sign up and participate in these clinical trials in a very short period of time. That allowed there to be robust data collected,” she said.

Despite the progess, DHEC leadership also urged people to stay home and follow social distancing guidelines over the holidays.

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