DHEC: No plans to open vaccine eligibility to all South Carolinians yet

Conway Medical Center leaders answer COVID-19 distribution, appointment questions
Conway Medical Center leaders answer COVID-19 distribution, appointment questions
Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 8:02 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A growing list of state health departments and governors in states such as Texas, Georgia, Louisiana and Indiana, all recently announced news unthinkable just months ago.

By the end of March, any adult in those states can sign up for their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Even more are set for early April, including Connecticut, Michigan and Tennessee.

In South Carolina, however, adults outside of a priority phase can’t begin signing up until May 3.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Senior Deputy for Public Health Nick Davidson told reporters that the state agency’s vaccine rollout plan has had one goal from the start.

“We have been clear from the beginning that we are doing this in a risk-based fashion,” he said. “So we want to make sure to first offer it to those in the highest level of risk, that’s how we will save the most lives.”

Davidson added that DHEC looks at the supply and demand constantly, and the agency is on track to hit the current timeline they put out at the start of March.

There’s also an added possibility that phases could get moved up.

“If we have opportunities and it makes sense,” Davidson said. “To be able to move onto a phase potentially earlier than expected, if the data indicates that and the information we’re getting from our providers indicate that, then we will potentially look at doing what other states have been doing. At the current rate, I don’t expect it would be any later than the dates that we have mentioned.”

Officials from Tidelands Health recently said they think the May 3 timeline is doable, but to expect lingering appointments far after.

WMBF News has reached out to Gov. Henry McMaster’s office to ask if he has plans to ask DHEC’s to adjust vaccine rollout in South Carolina.

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