Teachers and school staff next to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1b

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – More COVID-19 vaccine roll out plans are continuing to move forward in the state of South Carolina. This comes on Tuesday as the Department of Education announced some good news for teachers and school staff. That news was that educators and support staff will be included in Phase 1b, the next phase of vaccinations. 

The South Carolina Department of Education said they estimate roughly 100,000 individuals to be eligible to receive the vaccine as part of Phase 1b. That’s roughly 60,000 teachers and 40,000 support staff who could have the option to become vaccinated. 

Ryan Brown, the Chief Communications Officer for the South Carolina Department of Education, said the vaccine for all of the state’s education employee sector will not be a requirement but done through a voluntary opportunity basis. 

The next phase, according to Governor Henry McMaster, could come as early as January 15th. This is after the Governor made clear his displeasure in the speed of vaccine distribution and his intent to pressure forward. Per DHEC on Monday, they believe Phase 1b will come in the month of February or as late as March. The Department of Education hopes for the sooner of the two estimated dates. 

From our point of view, we want that to happen as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible. And have every educator and support staff who wants to receive the vaccine, able to get it as quickly as possible. 

Ryan Brown, Chief Communications Officer SC Department of Education 

While Phase 1b has still yet to begin, Phase 1a does include school nurses. Hospital systems have begun to reach out to district nurses, and Brown stated that over the weekend, he believed MUSC has vaccinated roughly 70 individual school nurses.  

Brown said if you have not been contacted, there’s a channel you can go through. Begin with contacting the lead school nurse at the district office or whoever is your supervisor in your district office to get additional information. 

As for students receiving the vaccine, Brown said as of now, the FDA has not given a clearance for those 16 years and under to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  

For more on the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.  

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