DHEC Encourages South Carolina Hospitals to Begin Vaccinating Admitted Patients Age 65 and Older

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced  that South Carolina Hospitals should begin to vaccinate their admitted patients, who are aged 65 years and older, as long as they do not currently have COVID-19 and a provider feels it is indicated for them.

“It is within our state’s best interest to allow hospitals to begin vaccinating their admitted patients who are aged 65 years and older,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Public Health Director. “By moving up these patients who are currently admitted in our hospitals we are ensuring that the most vulnerable among us are being vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

Adding admitted patients age 65 years and older to the Phase 1a eligible individuals currently able to receive the vaccine, is part of DHEC efforts to speed up the number of South Carolinians getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 vaccine.

DHEC, Governor McMaster, SCHA and hospitals agree this will be another great step toward vaccinating our most vulnerable residents. Vaccination to these individuals can occur immediately, depending on availability of vaccine and staffing,” Traxler said.

Earlier this week, the agency urged Phase 1a healthcare workers to quickly schedule appointments with their local hospitals to be vaccinated as soon as possible and no later than Jan. 15, 2021.

Since first receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 14, 2020, South Carolina has received a federal allocation of 146,500 Pfizer vaccines, which includes 34,125 that were received just this week. To date 62,632 South Carolinians in Phase 1a have received their first dose of the vaccine and 7,698 have received their second dose. In addition, 83,844 Phase 1a individuals have made appointments as of this morning to be vaccinated.

DHEC remains dedicated to working with our partners to ensure that everyone who wishes to be immunized against COVID-19 in South Carolina will be vaccinated, but it is going to take time. As part of this effort, the agency will continue to work with SCHA and our hospitals to assess the current vaccine supply levels and demand for the vaccine and will evaluate when we are able to move forward to Phase 1b.

Those who are currently not included in Phase 1a should not reach out to hospitals to schedule appointments at this time. Instead, please continue to listen for updates from local health officials to determine when it is your turn to receive the vaccine.

The updated Phase 1a guidance is available on DHEC’s website at scdhec.gov/vaxfacts.