DHEC strongly encourages all eligible children and students to roll up their sleeves and ‘get the COVID-19 vaccine’


SEATTLE, WA – MAY 18: A student receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic on the University of Washington campus on May 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control urges students, ages 12 and up, to get vaccinated ahead of the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.

According to DHEC, only the Pfizer vaccine is permitted for those aged 12 and older. After receiving the first dose, one must wait at least three weeks to get a second dose – after the second, one isn’t considered fully vaccinated before an additional two weeks.

“It takes about five weeks to achieve full vaccination, so students who are eligible for the vaccine don’t have a lot of time to spare if they want to protect themselves and their friends during the upcoming school year,” says Dr. Brannon Traxler, Public Health Director. “We want all students in South Carolina to focus on learning and not have to worry about COVID-19 when the new school year begins. That can be a reality if enough of them roll up their sleeves and get their shots.”

Students who are fully vaccinated can participate in more school activities such as athletic, social and any other extracurricular activity. Unvaccinated individuals who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are still required to quarantine and refrain from attending school activities during their quarantine duration.

Parents are also urged to get vaccinated, as many attend school campuses for PTA meetings, volunteer events, and several other reasons. Those ages 18 and up are eligible for Pfizer, in addition to Moderna and Johnson & Johnson brand vaccines.

CDC is expected to announce updated school guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year in the next few weeks – DHEC will then review those updated procedures and implement them for South Carolina schools.

“We cannot stress how important it is for everyone eligible to get vaccinated before the new school year commences. Parents, teachers, and students deserve the right to attend or visit school without worrying about getting sick,” Traxler adds. “Vaccinations are safe and effective and will go a long way in protecting our schools and colleges.”

Visit DHEC’s vaccination page for more information, and the agency’s locator page to find nearby vaccination site.

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