COVID-19 vaccine rollout in South Carolina to be slow, here’s the distribution order

South Carolina News

A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. U.K. regulators said Wednesday that people who have a “significant history’’ of allergic reactions shouldn’t receive the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine while they investigate two adverse reactions that occurred on the first day of the country’s mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Gov. Henry McMaster and state health officials outlined the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, saying rollout will be slow.

DHEC said between 200,000 and 300,000 coronavirus vaccines are expected in South Carolina before the month ends, but that amount could change. An FDA panel is giving Pfizer’s vaccine a final look today before a vote. 

McMaster said on Wednesday there will not be enough in that round to cover the first group designated to receive the vaccine. That group includes workers in healthcare settings, residents and staff of nursing homes, people who are 75 or older and those with two specified health risk conditions. 

The second distribution phase include pharmacists, pharmacy techs, grocery store and food delivery workers, postal workers, teachers, child care staff, and persons with one specified chronic health risk condition.

The vaccine will take months to distribute, McMaster said. He added the vaccine will not be available to all South Carolina residents for months.

And officials with DHEC said they are confident enough vaccines will be available for the general public within the next year.

“Like other states, South Carolina’s vaccination planning has greatly evolved, and will continue to over time, as the federal government provides new vaccine information,” Dr. Linda Bell said Wednesday.

Health officials say that while the vaccine is an incredible step forward in the fight against COVID-19, it’s not an immediate return to normalcy.

The public is asked to continue wearing face masks in public spaces, practice social distancing, and good basic hygiene.

“If we are able to implement 95% use of masks within the next week, by April we could avert 1,000 deaths. Within 4-6 weeks of this level of mask usage, we would see a significant change in our trajectory,” said state epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell.

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