DHEC addresses how some hospitals are vaccinating people under age 70

Updated: Jan. 25, 2021 at 8:22 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Some hospitals have started vaccinating people under age 70, despite the fact that guidance from the Department of Health and Environmental Control for Phase 1A of vaccine distribution does not include people younger than 70.

Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center in Darlington County is an example of a hospital vaccinating people younger than 70.

The hospital posted to its Facebook page over the weekend, saying staff there vaccinated more than 1,000 people, some of whom were between the ages of 65 and 69.

DHEC’s Interim Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler addressed how this is possible during a media briefing Monday.

“DHEC has provided guidance to all of the vaccine providers in the state regarding the populations who are eligible for a vaccination,” Traxler said. “We continue to stress to providers that it is important to follow that guidance, which at this time consists of the long term care facility residents and staff, healthcare workers and those who are hospitalized over the age of 65 without COVID-19 and those who are age 70 and older in our state.”

According to information from DHEC, the phase guidelines are carefully developed recommendations - not requirements - for ensuring the entire state “cohesively rolls out the state’s vaccine plan as intended.”

DHEC referred WMBF News to specific facilities for a comment as to why they would choose not to follow South Carolina’s vaccine plan, especially now when the number of doses is so limited.

WMBF News has also reached out to Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center for comment.

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