South Carolina opens COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people aged 16 and up beginning March 31, and people can start making appointments on that day, Gov. Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced Friday.
According to the DHECS’s website, people in that category were not supposed to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine appointments until May but the Governor’s announcement skips the rest of DHEC’s planned phased approach.
“Our priority with the vaccine has been to save the lives of those at the greatest risk of dying. By staying the course and resisting distractions, we’ve expanded South Carolinians’ access and eligibility for vaccinations faster than originally anticipated,” said Gov. Henry McMaster in a news release. “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our state’s health care professionals, we are now able to make the vaccine available to anyone who wants it, and to do so ahead of schedule.”
“We started by making vaccine available to those who were most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19; the elderly, those with high risk of exposure at work, and those with medical conditions that worsen the effects of COVID-19,” added Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director, in the release. “Today, about a year after the COVID-19 crisis began, we are now able to offer three very safe and effective vaccines to all South Carolina residents over the age of 16 – another step on our path to take control of COVID-19 instead of it controlling us and getting back to normal. ”
Pfizer is currently the only vaccine available to those between the ages of 16 and 18. Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen all provide vaccines to people over the age of 18.
According to DHEC, nearly 15% of South Carolina’s population has been completely vaccinated as of Friday.
To learn more and for online appointments, go to scdhec.gov/vaxlocator. You can also call the DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for assistance.