With over 154,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered, South Carolina is following other states in rapidly distributing its two doses. South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) rolled out its vaccine plan before administering the first dose on Dec. 14, 2020. 

Currently, South Carolina is in Phase 1A, which involves health care workers and personnel receiving the vaccine. Phase 1B, which is expected to begin later this winter, will expand the rollout to frontline workers and those 75 and older. Phase 1C, beginning in early spring, will then expand to essential workers, those ages 65 to 74, and those 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions. DHEC hopes to be able to make the vaccine available to the public at large by early fall at the latest.

The Tiger reached out to nursing students at Clemson who received the vaccine to see how they are reacting. Claire Ellis, senior nursing major, was apprehensive to say that she is safe from the virus after only the first dose. “I don’t feel much safer than before,” explained Ellis, adding that she is hopeful for once the vaccine is widely available. “I can see campus gradually returning to a new normal.”

Katie Garverick, sophomore nursing major, shares a similar view to Ellis. “I think we are definitely still a ways away from ‘normal’ but I think the vaccine is a step in the right direction.” Garverick gave a word of caution, though, if students decide not to receive the vaccine. “It won’t make much of a widespread impact and [the virus will] continue to spread.”

National experts are hopeful for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected to only require one dose and aid in distribution to rural areas of the country. The vaccine is ‘likely weeks away’ and still in early stage clinical trials.

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