DHEC sends letter to Horry County over reports of COVID-19 vaccines given to ineligible individuals

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) sent a letter to Horry County over reports of ineligible people receiving COVID-19 vaccines.

The letter was sent Sunday after DHEC said it received reports of people outside of the Phase 1a group receiving vaccines from Horry County Fire Rescue. The letter asks for a record of who has been vaccinated by the program in Horry County as well as how the distribution was planned.

DHEC is asking whether or not Horry County Fire Rescue vaccinated county employees not part of the 1a group.

DHEC said 1,818 first doses and 123 second doses have been administered by Horry County Fire Rescue as of Sunday.

A county government can register its EMS to be a vaccine provider. Horry County Fire Rescue is one of three EMS groups in the state approved to administer vaccines. The other two are Clarendon County Fire and Rescue and Cherokee County Fire and Rescue, according to DHEC.

DHEC said it continues to monitor reports of providers vaccinating people outside of the 1a group.

News13 obtained the letter Horry County Fire Rescue sent to DHEC in response. In the letter, Horry County Fire Rescue said it spoke with Alexandra Hayes and Donna McNeil of DHEC before any vaccines were administered and were told to vaccinate people “as quickly as possible and with as little waste as possible.”

“In consideration with that guidance, employees who opted to receive the vaccine were granted a designee to also receive a vaccine with an emphasis on those who met Phase 1a criteria,” the letter says. “We recognize and appreciate the criteria system and will continue to assist the state in this critical mission.”

Horry County Fire Rescue said it is committed to working with DHEC and partner agencies in the vaccination rollout and said it is willing to discuss the matter further with DHEC.

Read the full letter below:

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