December 31, 2020
The SCMA continues to work on providing access to the COVID-19 vaccine for non-affiliated physicians and staff. We have been working closely with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) over the past week to answer direct questions from physicians, and also to assist in staging access sites. This evening DHEC provided the below message directly for SCMA physicians as an update on the process. We will continue to provide updates regularly in this fluid situation.
On behalf of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), we thank you for your continued service throughout this historic public health response. We recognize that many South Carolinians have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, including when and where you will be able to get vaccinated. This afternoon, we provided a virtual media brief to share the latest information about the COVID-19 vaccine plan and roll out in South Carolina.
Since receiving the first doses of the vaccine on Dec. 14, we remain encouraged by the dedication of South Carolinians in continuing to do their part in the fight against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. Our ultimate goal is to save lives. DHEC is committed 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. It’s important to recognize that this is a rapidly evolving event. This vaccine is unlike any vaccine that we have ever dealt with before. We must remain flexible in our response so we can continue to respond to global and local challenges as they arise, such as:
• limited initial supplies of vaccine during the phased rollout,
• complex logistics, and
• adapting to changes in federal guidance.
Together with our partners, we are confident that we will continue meet each new challenge head on. We encourage you to take a moment to click here to read and share an update that DHEC provided earlier today on the state’s phased vaccine roll out efforts. Summary highlights include overviews on:
• Preparing for historic ultra-cold storage requirements
• Adjusting to rapidly changing federal guidance
• Progressing from the initial phase into widespread availability in summer
• Understanding next steps in the phased vaccine roll out
For individuals in Phase 1a who have not been contacted regarding an opportunity for vaccination yet, DHEC is working with our partners at SCHA and SCMA as well as numerous independent providers and vaccination locations to onboard them and allocate and distribute vaccines in the coming weeks. As more locations for vaccination become available, we will be contacting healthcare workers via their employers, associations, or licensing entities to provide a way for them to sign up if they wish to be contacted when it is their turn to make an appointment for vaccination. It is going to take several weeks to a couple of months to vaccinate all members of Phase 1a, so please be patient as we go through this process.
We will continue to keep you informed as we learn more about the vaccines and related requirements. For the latest on South Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine plan and distribution efforts, please visit scdhec.gov/vaxfacts. You can also visit our FAQ page, here.