Students, Faculty and Staff Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccines Under Phase 1b
DHEC’s Phase 1b presents a new vaccine opportunity for Furman's faculty and staff, including students employed by Furman.
As vaccine appointments quickly fill up, students rush to get their COVID-19 vaccine in the Greenville area.
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On Mar. 3 Furman faculty and staff received the highly anticipated email from the co-chairs of the COVID Response Steering Committee confirming their eligibility for the COVID vaccine. The email came following the Mar. 2 announcement from South Carolina governor Henry McMaster, who announced the implantation of Phase 1b of the “Guidance for COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation,” which was published by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Safety (DHEC).
The document explains that Phase 1b eligibility includes individuals aged 55 and up, persons aged 16-54 with one or more high-risk medical conditions, or people with increased occupational risk, such as those employed in education. If one can provide proof of employment and reasonable concern within their occupation, then they are eligible for the vaccine beginning Mar. 8, thus allowing members of Furman’s staff to receive the vaccine.
The email also outlined several locations close to campus along with website links to make appointments at the given locations. Currently, there are no available appointments to receive the vaccine through the options Furman outlined.
Several students across campus shared their experiences following this vaccine update as many opted to schedule an appointment at their earliest convenience. Junior Lydia Stubbs, who is now eligible under 1b protocols, said, “I looked for a whole weekend on the DHEC site and made sure that I looked everywhere, not just places near Furman. I ended up getting an appointment an hour away!”
Sophomore Lana Aga shared that she was excited to get the vaccine and “called every pharmacy within a 30 mile radius” to ask if she could get an appointment scheduled. After waiting on an Ingles no-waste list, Aga received the call that she was able to get the vaccine and she arrived at the site as soon as she could. After receiving her vaccine, Aga shared that the whole experience was “extremely easy” and that she felt comfortable the entire time.
Senior Victoria Cowell is immunocompromised, so when she saw that South Carolina was moving into phase 2, she sent in a form she found online to the CDC confirming her eligibility. After receiving confirmation from the CDC, Cowell woke up at 7am to book an appointment at Publix.
While Furman is not currently requiring its faculty and staff to take the vaccine, the email strongly suggests eligible persons contact their primary care physicians with options and outstanding concerns.