COLUMBIA, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – Governor Henry McMaster and DHEC said that beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13, any South Carolina resident age 70 or older can begin scheduling their appointment to receive COVID-19 vaccine.

DHEC said their online map at scdhec.gov/vaxlocator will be live on Wednesday to show the locations currently accepting appointments for COVID-19 vaccine and the contact information for scheduling appointments at those locations.

The map itself is not a way to schedule an appointment, DHEC clarified.

People can also call DHEC’s Care Line at 1-855-472-3432 for assistance in locating contact information for facilities offering appointments.

DHEC said people will have to contact facilities offering the vaccines to schedule their shots.

Officials said they believe the majority of people in Phase 1a who want to be vaccinated have either received their shots or have scheduled appointments to do so. Therefore, officials are making the vaccine available to all state residents age 70 and older, regardless of their health status or pre-existing conditions.

“Because we’ve seen a dramatic acceleration in vaccine usage and appointments in the last week, we have decided to speed things up again,” said Gov. Henry McMaster in a news release. “We know that those 70 and older are at the greatest risk of dying from COVID-19. Making sure they have expedited access to the vaccine will help save lives.”

“While COVID-19 vaccine is currently limited in South Carolina, like it is in all states, our providers continue to receive ongoing weekly shipments of vaccine from the federal government,” added Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Director of Public Health, in the release. “When evaluating supply versus demand and as the rate of vaccines coming into the state increases compared to the rate of appointments being scheduled, we believe it is appropriate to begin scheduling appointments for additional South Carolinians. Based on current data, the mortality rate from COVID-19 for those 70 and older in South Carolina is approximately 655 deaths per 100,000 individuals. For those under the age of 70, there are approximately 37 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 individuals. This is a staggering comparison and illustrates why vaccinating this population next is critically important in our mission to save lives.”

DHEC said more than 67 percent of COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina have been among those 70 and older.

South Carolina has a population of about 627,800 people aged 70 or older.

DHEC released these important points that all vaccine seekers age 70 and up should be aware of:

  • Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13, any South Carolina resident who’s at least 70 years old can schedule their appointment for receiving vaccine
  • Vaccine can only be administered by appointment – you can’t walk into a health care facility and ask for vaccine
  • Residents will be asked to provide a driver’s license or other form of ID at their appointment that confirms their age and, therefore, their eligibility to receive vaccine
  • Individuals eligible to receive vaccine can schedule an appointment using this online map tool, which currently includes several major hospitals, seven DHEC sites, a DHEC mobile clinic, and 12 Doctor’s Cares locations. An additional 50 locations will be added to this list and available to provide vaccine by the beginning of next week. Individuals can also call the DHEC Care Line at 1-855-472-3432 for assistance with scheduling an appointment.
  • Appointments should be scheduled; walk-ins may not be able to receive vaccine.
  • You will be asked to provide a driver’s license or other form of ID at your appointment that confirms your age in order to receive vaccine.
  • South Carolina residency is not a requirement to receive a vaccine.
  • The appointment scheduling phone line for each location may operate different hours of the day. This isn’t determined by DHEC.
  • South Carolina, like all states, currently has limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine. Some locations that offer vaccine may not have an appointment available for several weeks, depending on their vaccine supply.
  • Facilities receive doses of vaccine each week from the federal government.
  • Individuals are encouraged to schedule their second shot as soon as they can. It’s important that individuals receive both doses of the same brand of vaccine to ensure they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

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