The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) recently submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan. The overarching goal of this vaccination plan is the equitable distribution of the vaccine across the state, based on the most current federal guidance and recommendations.

DHEC; the South Carolina Emergency Management Division; South Carolina Hospital Association; National Guard; South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division; Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; and other public and private sector partners worked closely to develop the plan. It is available online at scdhec.gov/covid19vaccine.

“Safety is the top priority in any vaccine development and no vaccine will be released until it has undergone the rigorous scientific and clinical testing that’s required as part of all vaccine development,” said Dr. Linda Bell, South Carolina State Epidemiologist in a press release. “Scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses, and that earlier research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

During the initial stages of the national COVID-19 Vaccination Program, there will be a limited supply of the vaccine. That limited supply will be made available to certain identified groups, including front-line medical workers and nursing home residents. COVID-19 vaccine supply is expected to increase substantially and be more widely available to the public in 2021.

For more information, including frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines, visit scdhec.gov/covid19vaccine.