CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As of Monday, over 43,275 front-line workers and nursing home residents have been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). This makes the state one step closer to the next phase.
But before the next phase of vaccinations can begin, the second dose of the vaccine must be administered to those 43,000 who received the first dose, and that shipment of second round doses is said to come this week. The next shipment is said to contain 16,000 doses of the second part of the COVID-19 vaccine.
After being administered both doses, Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC’s Interim Public Health Director, said ‘those individuals will be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.’
Dr. Traxler predicts that at this rate, we could move into Phase 1b by February. Of course, this is only if 70% of individuals accounted for have been given the chance to receive both doses, and the CDC has given the ‘green light.’ But switching phases quicker—is not necessarily better.
You know we still only have a certain amount of vaccine that we are getting each week and that does not increase as we move into another phase.Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC’s Interim Public Health Director
But the phase on many South Carolinians’ minds is the one that includes the general public. Though a plan is not fully disclosed yet, Dr. Robert Oliverio, the Chief Medical Officer of Ambulatory Care at Roper St. Francis, hopes when it comes time for distribution, it will be in a drive-thru manner.
Dr. Oliverio said he thinks, ‘that’s probably going to be the most efficient, and figuring out where and how to do that is sort of our job, at least right now. ‘ As for how Roper’s roll out of the distribution has been, Dr. Oliverio said it has been great and the side effects so far have mainly been soreness at the site of injection along with some developing a headache.
He added, along with DHEC, that until you are vaccinated with both doses, keep up with the basics of avoiding the virus. DHEC called on the public to ‘step up by stepping back.’
This means wearing your mask when you are around others outside your household or anytime you are in public, physically distancing from anyone outside of your household, getting tested regularly and anytime that you feel ill, avoiding large gatherings and staying home if you are feeling sick.
With less ultimately sick of the virus, DHEC representative believe that more vaccines can be administered as healthcare professionals will have to time to administer—instead of care for those who are ill.
While Monday’s teleconference focused only on the Pfizer distribution and implementation, the number of Moderna vaccines administered will hopefully be disclosed later this week. DHEC said they have requested the information for release as that is monitored by the federal government and pharmacies.