When are people with disabilities in SC getting the COVID vaccine?

Understandably, the question on everyone’s mind right now is: When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine? We know it can be difficult to understand all of the mixed messages out there from different government agencies, lawmakers, and news sites. This post will attempt to break down who is included in which phases of the vaccine as clearly as possible, with you–the disability community–in mind.

Need help understanding what the COVID-19 vaccine is and how it works? Watch this social story video!

South Carolina is currently in Phase 1A of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Who does Phase 1A include?

  • Home caregivers for children who have a tracheostomy, are ventilator-dependent or who have a Medically Complex Children’s Waiver. The Medically Complex Children’s Waiver (MCC) is a statewide program to serve children who meet either Nursing Facility or Intermediate Care Facility-Intellectually Disabled level of care and medical criteria. Requires a medical provider’s signed attestation to confirm caregiver meets criteria.)
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities/congregate settings
    • “Long-term care facilities” includes community residential care facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, skilled nursing facilities, and psychiatric institutions. (*This list is not final, as we are currently advocating for more facilities to be included in this list.)
  • Frontline healthcare workers
    • This list includes, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, home health and hospice workers, physical and occupational therapists and assistants, nurses and nurse assistants, physicians and physician assistants, speech language pathologists, respiratory care practitioners, and more.
  • Anyone 70 years or older, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions. (Starting on 2/8/2021, this will open up to anyone 65 years or older.)
  • Admitted hospital patients who are 65+ years old and do not have COVID-19.
  • State/local government employees and their contractors who are mission-critical for maintaining operations of COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in SC

If and only if you fall into category Phase 1A, you can use this map to locate vaccination sites and register for yours. If you have difficulty navigating this website, please call Able SC at 803-779-5121 and we can assist you in scheduling a vaccine appointment.

Phase 1B is planned to start receiving vaccinations soon, in late winter 2021. Who does Phase 1B currently include?

  • Frontline essential workers not vaccinated in the first round
    • This list currently includes firefighters, law enforcement officers, corrections officers, food and agriculture workers, United States Postal Service (USPS) workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector–teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.

NOTE: We are currently advocating for the majority of people with disabilities to be included in this phase. However, currently, the majority of people with disabilities are in Phase 1C, as outlined below. We will continue to fight for your rights and will update you on any changes in the phases. If you would like to join us in advocating for South Carolinians with disabilities, contact your representatives through this link.

Phase 1C is set to receive vaccinations in early Spring 2021, after Phase 1B has received vaccinations. Who does Phase 1C currently include?

  • All people aged 65 and older
  • Other essential workers, including people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health staff
  • People 16 or older with certain underlying health conditions that puts you at high risk for severe disease
    • This list, as defined by the CDC, includes:
      • Disability (intellectual, developmental, physical)
      • Cancer
      • Kidney disease
      • COPD
      • Down Syndrome
      • Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
      • Immunocompromised state
      • Obesity, as defined by a BMI of 30 or higher
      • Pregnancy
      • Sickle cell disease
      • Type 1 and 2 Diabetes
      • Asthma
      • Cerebrovascular disease
      • Cystic fibrosis
      • Hypertension or high blood pressure
      • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
      • Liver disease
      • Pulmonary fibrosis
      • Thalassemia

Please consult this CDC list for more information.

Phase 2 includes ALL people who have not already been vaccinated in the above phases. Currently, SC DHEC anticipates the general public (phase 2) will be able to start receiving the vaccine in late Spring/early Fall 2021.

As we mentioned previously, we strongly suggest that people with disabilities be included in Phase 1A. Vaccine priority should be determined by those with the highest risk of contracting a severe case of COVID, the workers who are in direct contact with high-risk populations, and the frontline essential healthcare workers–NOT on perceived quality of life.

Know that we are advocating for you, and we will keep you updated if there are any changes to the vaccine distribution phases. If you have any questions, or if you want to share your story as to why it is important that people with disabilities are given priority in vaccinations, please email us at advocacy@able-sc.org.

Other COVID services we offer:

  • Help in advocating for yourself and your rights
  • Assistance understanding the virus, safety tips, and finding COVID-19 testing sites
  • Peer support every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM online!
  • Guidance on transitioning out of an institution (like a nursing home, hospital, or care facility) into community-based living
  • Advocacy to prevent at-risk individuals from being institutionalized
  • Connecting individuals with all available resources through Information & Referral.

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