On Tuesday, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced that the state would move to phase 1b of its vaccination plan beginning this coming Monday.
In addition to anyone age 55 and older, as well as individuals between the ages of 16 and 54 with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease due to various underlying medical conditions, the phase 1b group includes “frontline workers” who have an increased risk due to their occupation. DHEC defines frontline workers with increased occupational risk as people who both:
- Must be in-person at their place of work.
- 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.
Examples of frontline workers include school staff and daycare workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, and law enforcement officers.
When seeking vaccine services, frontline workers included in phase 1b may be required to show eligibility by verifying that they meet the criteria for a frontline or essential worker. Although it is not yet clear how vaccination sites will verify the identity of frontline workers, frontline workers who qualify for vaccinations at this time solely due to their occupation should bring proof of employment such as a pay stub, badge, and/or a letter from their employer to the vaccination site.
South Carolina employers should anticipate requests from employees seeking verification of eligibility for the phase 1b vaccination. Employers may want to consider providing a voucher letter to qualifying individuals verifying they meet current eligibility guidelines as specified by DHEC. Employers should also remind employees to bring employee identification or state or federal issued identification to their vaccination appointment.