Retired nurses and medical students are now approved to administer the coveted coronavirus vaccines in South Carolina as the state moves closer toward opening up expanded access for residents. In a press release posted on Thursday, the state’s health department said the move will "ensure South Carolina has enough trained medical professionals for administering shots when vaccine supply into South Carolina becomes more widely available."
As of Thursday, the state, which is still in Phase 1a of distribution, had received 313,100 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and administered 137,712 shots.
Under the new order, residents now qualified to administer pre-measured doses of the vaccine include personnel with current certifications by certain certifying boards, students of an accredited medical school with appropriate instruction and documented training, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses who have retired, become inactive or whose licenses have lapsed within the last five years but were in good standing.
"While South Carolina is currently in Phase 1a of its vaccine plan which is targeted at protecting front-line medical workers, long term care facility residents and staff, and those who are 70 older, this joint order proactively puts us in a position to have an increased number of people who can administer vaccine when the vaccine is more widely available to everyone," Marshall Taylor, Department of Health and Environmental Control, said in the press release.
Those who qualify and would like to be involved in vaccine administration will need to enroll in the federal program that all providers are required to complete. South Carolina currently has 824 vaccine provider sites enrolled in the program, with 286 currently activated. The state said that more of the sites will become activated as more supply rolls in.
South Carolina has recorded nearly 337,900 cases of the virus, and has seen over 5,400 deaths.