March 2, 2021
Dear Faculty and Staff,
As you have likely seen, earlier today the Governor and DHEC announced the expansion of access to the COVID-19 vaccine to Phase 1b. That means as of Monday (March 8) the following groups will have access to vaccinations:
- All individuals age 55 and above.
- Teachers, Professors, Instructors, Graduate Assistants and support staff.
- Frontline staff supporting the university's mission – who are defined as individuals in-person at their place of work, and who perform a job that puts them at increased risk of exposure due to their frequent, close (less than 6 feet) and ongoing (more than 15 minutes) contact with others in the work environment.
- All individuals identified in Phase 1a who have not yet received their vaccine.
- Those aged 16-64 with pre-existing conditions as defined by ACIP:
- Cancer (current, not a history of cancer), chronic kidney disease (any stage), chronic lung disease, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), Down syndrome, heart disease (congestive heart disease, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension), HIV/AIDS, solid organ transplant, obesity (BMI >30), pregnancy, sickle cell disease.
- People who have a developmental or other severe high-risk disability that makes developing severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection more likely.
Those included in this expansion can access the vaccine through any community vaccination site statewide, and we encourage you to visit the DHEC COVID vaccine website to make an appointment at a location near you. Additionally, I'm proud that our own Student Health Services – which is also receiving a limited number of doses – is able to provide some vaccinations to the UofSC System community as well. UofSC is currently receiving approximately 200 doses per week and has requested an expansion to 1,000 doses per week.
Beginning this Thursday, UofSC students, faculty and staff system-wide who are included in Phase 1b will be able to log into MyHealthSpace to schedule an appointment for next week. While we can currently only administer the vaccine on our Columbia campus, the appointments outlined above are available to all Phase 1b individuals in the UofSC System. It is important to note that Student Health Services currently receives the Moderna vaccine, which is NOT approved for those under age 18. For more information on the UofSC vaccine process, who qualifies and additional details on how to register, please visit the UofSC COVID-19 Vaccination Information page.
For nearly a year now, we have worked together as students, faculty and staff to care for one another and for our community and to continue our academic and research mission in support of our students and state. I am thankful for the scientists and researchers who have made this vaccine possible, to our elected leaders for moving expeditiously to expand to Phase 1b, and to our own university healthcare team who have tirelessly worked to keep us safe and healthy.
I'm also grateful for your patience, commitment and resilience this past year. As we look toward a hopeful return to "normal," please continue your disciplined practice of wearing a mask, washing your hands and watching your distance – no matter your vaccine status. I also encourage you to attend the virtual Faculty and Staff Town Hall this Friday, March 5 at noon, where university administrators and I will answer any questions you might have.