South Carolina Hospital Association COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance:

South Carolina hospitals and health systems are working with DHEC and other providers to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the people of South Carolina as quickly as possible so that we can bring the pandemic to an end. The state is currently receiving approximately 60,000 doses per week, which are being distributed directly to hospitals and other vaccine providers for administration to priority populations or administered under federal contract at nursing homes.

Why were people over 70 added to the vaccine eligibility list before we completed Phase 1a?
According to DHEC, South Carolina officials are confident that the majority of people in Phase 1a who want to be vaccinated have been vaccinated or have an appointment for vaccination. Priorities in the state’s vaccination plan provides are intended to save lives, and data show that older people are at greatest risk of death from COVID-19. Governor McMaster’s decision to accelerate vaccination of people over 70 reflects this guidance. We all want to get the vaccine to as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

Where should the public go for information on receiving vaccine in South Carolina?
DHEC has developed a vaccine website to address questions related to the vaccine, and people may also call the DHEC Care Line at 855-472-3432 to learn more about what phase they are in and when they will have an opportunity to receive the vaccine. In addition, DHEC will soon launch an online resource to help people schedule an appointment.

How long will it take for a person who’s eligible for vaccination to receive it?
Vaccine quantities are very limited. Check with each location regarding their requirements and process to schedule an appointment. Securing an appointment will depend on vaccine availability and may take several weeks.

Are hospitals required to vaccinate inpatients 65 years and older?
No. Hospitals are not required to vaccinate inpatients 65 and older, but they may do so if the attending physician deems it appropriate and vaccine is available. We have heard that many physicians do not like to vaccinate patients just before discharge because a vaccine-induced fever could result in an unnecessary readmission.

Does a person need to live or work in S.C. to be vaccinated in S.C.?
Ultimately, no.  DHEC recommends people seeking vaccination in South Carolina live or work here, but it is not a requirement to be vaccinated in the state.

How will older patients in nursing homes and long-term care providers access the vaccine?
Patients in nursing homes and long-term care providers will receive the vaccine in the facility that is managing their care. The federal government has contracted with Walgreens and CVS to handle those vaccinations.