MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Those 65 and older could soon be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina.
While speaking in front of a Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, Marshall Taylor, the acting director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, said we could be days or weeks away, as opposed to months away, from those 65 and older being vaccinated.
This news comes as frustrations among the 65 and older population continue.
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Right now, people 70 years old and up, as well as hospital patients 65 and older can get vaccinated.
DHEC’s current vaccine distribution plan shows everyone else 65 and older are in Phase 1c after frontline essential workers. The state’s timeline shows it would be late spring before we reach that phase.
Some people believe anyone who is 65 and older should be included in phase 1a, especially those with underlying health conditions.
“It’s real, it’s here and I don’t want to get it,” 65-year-old Brad Johnson said.
Johnson is a cancer survivor. He said he disagrees with how the state is handling vaccinations.
“I’ve been warned by my oncologist that the second I can get a shot, I should get a vaccination,” Johnson said. “If I were to go to New York or Florida, I could get a shot within the next two weeks. Here I cannot and it doesn’t seem to be right. "
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Even more so, Johnson said he knows how vulnerable the older population is to this virus.
“I lost a close friend yesterday to COVID,” he said.
On the other hand, some people on Facebook said they aren’t concerned about getting vaccinated.
One lady said she wants to wait. Another said she doesn’t plan to get the vaccine at all.
While some between the ages of 65 and 69 wait to become eligible for vaccinations, others who are still can’t book appointments.
Tim Ready, the general manager of the Eagle Crest Retirement Community in Myrtle Beach, said the community isn’t classified as a long-term care facility since the assistance isn’t medically driven. Instead, they fall under independent living.
Because of this, Ready said they’re not afforded the same access to vaccinations as nursing homes despite most of the residents being 70 and older.
Staff members also haven’t received the vaccine.
“There may not be ICU units, but they have to go into somebody’s apartment and take care of things, putting themselves at risk,” Ready said. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re as eligible to get the shot as caregivers.”
States currently vaccinating people 65 and older include neighboring Georgia and North Carolina.