South Carolina Senate approves bill making teachers immediately eligible for vaccine

A sign in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Thursday, June 18, 2020, asks people to maintain social distancing on the beach. People are flocking to South Carolina's beaches for vacation after being cooped up by COVID-19 for months. But the virus is taking no vacation as the state has rocketed into the top five in the country in cases divided by population.

 The South Carolina state Senate has passed a proposal to open vaccinations to tens of thousands of teachers.

The state Senate unanimously voted this week to allow teachers, regardless of age, to begin scheduling vaccinations. The measure also requires districts to offer in-person classes five days a week after spring break — even if teachers aren’t fully vaccinated. Gov. Henry McMaster wants in-person classes to resume but favors prioritizing vaccines for those 65 and older. The House also must approve the measure before it goes to the governor’s desk.

It took weeks for Elizabeth Cline to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments for her 70-year-old parents, eventually getting slots through a hospital system near her home in Greenville, South Carolina. Now they’re awaiting second doses.

“I wish more thought had been put into that at the beginning, and it didn’t come down to teachers begging to be heard,” Cline told The Associated Press. “I think teachers deserve more prioritization than they’re getting.”

South Carolina has registered more than 7,000 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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