SC health department starting new vaccine allocation model next week

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will begin using a new regional per capita model to allocate COVID-19 vaccine doses next week.

Senior Deputy for Public Health Nick Davidson unveiled the new model during Thursday’s DHEC board meeting.

He said the new distribution model also considers vulnerability factors. He said this will keep things equitable.

This change was required by state law when lawmakers passed vaccine relief funding legislation last month.

Some of the factors DHEC is considering when deciding where to allocate vaccine are things like percent of the population in a region over 55, percent of minority population, percent of high risk population, the poverty rate, two week incidence rate and the percent of the population who are not vaccinated.

Davidson said, “The last two factors are the ones most likely to change the quickest. Which we’d need to respond to quickly. They have a little bit more weight in our model.”

The model is currently based on the 115,490 doses of the Pfizer and Modern vaccine South Carolina receives per week from the federal government.

It’s broken down like this:

  • Lowcountry: 29,733
  • Midlands: 31,817
  • Pee Dee: 21,504
  • Upstate: 26,661

Davidson said, “The percent that is allocated from the region cannot vary more than five percent from the per-capita allocation that is in a community.”

He also added that the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is not included in those numbers just yet. Davidson said that’s because the state is receiving a small supply of those doses for the next couple weeks.

DHEC also announced hospitals will begin receiving a set base amount of vaccine next week. Future weeks will not be lower than that base amount. DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer said this will cut down on hospitals having to cancel appointments.

State health officials will also be establishing advisory panels called CARE panels for each of the four regions. Members of these panels would update DHEC on any gaps or issues they are experiencing in their area.

According to Davidson, 1.3 million vaccines have been administered in South Carolina since mid-December.

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