Understanding the vaccine rollout

I have received a lot of calls regarding vaccinations and the lack of communication on how they are being distributed. On top of that, you have the news media reporting how different states are handling the distribution to different aged populations, which has
caused some confusion.
I, along with several of my House colleagues, have had ongoing conversations with DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) over the last week about communication of the plan for South Carolina. In addition, the Governor has urged DHEC to communicate its plans for vaccine distribution, which it has done. 
South Carolina has received 146,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine — with 34,125 doses received (last) week.
So far, 52,163 health care workers in Phase 1a have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 1,107 have now received their second dose.
Next, 69,959 Phase 1a health care workers in the state are currently scheduled to receive vaccination against COVID-19. 
DHEC has issued a press release explaining in more detail what employers of phase 1a workers and phase 1a individuals should do to get a vaccine. Highlights from this press release include:
• CDC guidance originally provided a goal of having 70% of Phase 1a individuals vaccinated before advancing to Phase 1b. (Last week), that guidance evolved to now suggest several variables to take into consideration for when to transition, with an overarching theme of supply exceeding demand.
• DHEC recognizes the urgent need to vaccinate as many people in our state as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and to support this effort, hospitals should vaccinate any South Carolinian who qualifies under any category of Phase 1a.
• To speed up the number of South Carolinians getting vaccinated, Phase 1a individuals or their employers must have contacted a provider to schedule an appointment by the Jan. 15, 2021, deadline to ensure priority for the vaccine. DHEC will evaluate demand up to Jan. 15 to determine whether to request providers move forward with scheduling for the next phase of vaccinations.
• South Carolina employers with Phase 1a workers are encouraged to reach out to their local hospitals as soon as possible and no later than Jan. 15, with a roster of employees who want to be vaccinated. In addition, individuals in Phase 1a who want to be vaccinated should contact their local or nearest hospital to request an appointment no later than Jan. 15, 2021.
• Individuals making appointments may need to present credentials to verify they qualify to receive vaccination under Phase 1a. This includes providing some proof (e.g., badge, card, license, personalized letter from employer, picture of license) of Phase 1a qualification when presenting for the vaccination. 
South Carolina receives vaccines on a weekly basis. Appointments are subject to cancellation based on vaccines received from the federal government.
A new page has been added on the DHEC website to help with hospital contact information to assist phase 1a individuals and employers with scheduling vaccinations, at scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine.
The Vaccine Advisory Committee has a new dedicated page that can be accessed from the COVID-19 vaccine information hub at scdhec.gov/vaxfacts. On this new page, you can learn more about the role of the vaccine advisory committee, see the diverse
representation featured on the committee, and watch a recording of the meeting.
Phase 1a guidance was updated to make further clarifications about eligible health care workers. The COVID-19 vaccination FAQs were updated to address additional questions. 
For general information about COVID-19 vaccines, visit scdhec.gov/vaxfacts. For provider enrollment, visit scdhec.gov/covid19/guidance-healthcare-professionals-covid-19/covid-19-vaccine-provider-enrollment.
Regardless of your personal decision on this or any vaccines, please stay informed and safe. It's an honor to serve you in the State House. If you have questions or concerns, please contact me at marksmith@schouse.gov or 843-442-8371.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Smith’s letter was submitted Jan. 8. Some data may be updated after our press deadline. Please refer to the links Mr. Smith provided for the latest information.

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