Today, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced the agency and several key partners are developing a statewide COVID-19 vaccination testing plan in accordance with federal guidance.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division; South Carolina Hospital Association; National Guard; South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division; Department of Labor; and other public and private sector partners are working closely with DHEC in creating the plan.
“Although we don’t know exactly when vaccine will be available in the U.S., I want to assure you that DHEC is forging partnerships and following federal guidance for developing a plan for distributing the vaccine within our state when it becomes available,” said Stephen White, DHEC’s Director of Immunizations. “This plan will be built on the guidance and recommendations from the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies.”
The overarching goal of this vaccination plan will be the equitable distribution of vaccine across the state. When the vaccine first becomes available in South Carolina and other states, the number of doses will be limited and those limited doses will be allocated, according to federal guidance, to those at highest risk for contracting the virus and those at the highest risk of death. This includes front-line medical personnel, including those individuals who provide care for our senior populations in nursing homes; residents of nursing homes; and critical infrastructure employees as defined by the CDC.
As vaccine production ramps up nationwide and additional vaccines complete the approval process, COVID-19 vaccinations will become accessible to the general public.
At this time, we can’t determine if this vaccine would eventually become a required school vaccine. Each year, DHEC works with key stakeholders to develop the vaccination requirements for school.
All Vaccines Will Be Thoroughly Tested
“We have been assured by key scientific stakeholders like the National Institutes of Health that no vaccine will be released until it has undergone the rigorous scientific and clinical testing that all vaccines in development are held to,” White said.
The state’s COVID-19 vaccination planning process and timeline will continue to evolve as more information becomes available to us from the federal government, and DHEC will continue to keep South Carolinians updated on the status and availability of COVID-19 vaccines.
For the latest COVID-19 information, visit scdhec.gov/COVID19.