YORK COUNTY, S.C. — The race continues to get as many people vaccinated as possible. South Carolina now expanding who can get the vaccine.
The state has been in Phase 1a of the vaccine rollout for quite some time, which has been anyone 65 and older. But starting Monday, the state will enter Phase 1b with a massive expansion of who's considered eligible -- roughly 2.7 million people statewide can start scheduling appointments.
"The vaccination is here, it is limited, but it's available," DHEC Senior Deputy for Public Health, Nick Davidson said.
Phase 1b includes anyone over 55 years old, people 16 to 54 with preexisting conditions, and front-line essential workers like teachers, law enforcement, and grocery store employees.
"If people are in person at their place of work and they indicate that they have frequent and ongoing contact with people in the work place that qualifies them," Davidson said.
South Carolina health officials essentially are expanding vaccine eligibility to more than half the state's population.
Patients will not be required to provide proof that they have a preexisting condition. Rock Hill resident, Becky English says she gets dialysis three times a week and she's excited to finally be eligible.
"I think it's great, I think everyone needs to get it, I'm tired of everyone being sick around me and being exposed to it and getting tested," Becky English said. "So I'm ready for it."
According the DHEC, 10% of the states residents are now fully vaccinated.
Long-term care facilities recently reaching a milestone.
"Every long-term care facility resident and worker in the state has had the opportunity to get vaccinated against this deadly virus," Davidson said.
Despite more people getting the vaccine, health officials say you still to take safety precautions.
York County leaders have worked together to create a reliable community vaccine clinic for the county, located at the Rock Hill Galleria mall in the space formerly occupied by Home South and Goody's.
Vaccine doses are given Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment only. Those eligible can register through the Piedmont Medical Center vaccine request form. Vaccine recipients schedule their second dose appointment when they get their first dose.
Appointments are filled on a weekly basis, based on the number of doses expected. If appointments aren't available, people are urged to keep checking the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) portal.