The Daily Gamecock

In Brief: January 30, 2013

SC policy change opens flu vaccine supply for children

The South Carolina health department surprised physicians this week with a quick change in policy to accommodate a flu vaccine shortage, The State reported.

Pediatricians have run out of the vaccines suitable for infants 6 months to 3 years old and were facing weeks-long waits to get more.

But they still have access to vaccines provided by the federal government for children on Medicaid and state-provided vaccines for children not covered by private health insurance or Medicaid, and a temporary policy change allows them to use that supply for children that have private insurance, too.

It’s a one-time exception to the rules that only applies to the flu vaccine, takes effect only in case of a shortage in the privately funded vaccine supply and runs through June 30, The State reported.

There have been 30 flu-related deaths and 1,279 flu-related hospitalizations in the state so far this season, according to The State.

— Sydney Patterson, Managing Editor


State Supreme Court to hear Haley ethics appeal

The state Supreme Court will decide whether ethics claims against Gov. Nikki Haley should be considered by a lower court, multiple media outlets reported.

In November 2011, John Rainey, a Republican fundraiser, filed a lawsuit that focused on whether Haley used her office as a Lexington County representative for personal gain. A circuit court judge dismissed the case, saying that ethics charges are exclusively the domain of the House and Senate ethics committees.

That pushed the charges to the House Ethics Committee, which cleared Haley.

The Supreme Court won’t rule on the merit of the charges, but it will decide whether South Carolina courts can hear ethics lawsuits.

“This isn’t about Nikki Haley,” Rainey’s attorney Dick Harpootlian, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, said, according to The State. “This is about whether we have three branches of government or 2 1/2.”

—Thad Moore, News Editor


Trial on death following football game begins

The case of a man allegedly involved in the death of another man after a 2010 USC football game began Tuesday.

The defendant, 27-year-old Curtis Simms, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and breach of peace after a fight with 20-year-old Allen Gasque resulted in Gasque being knocked into a roadway near Williams-Brice Stadium where he was run over and killed, The State reported.

The fight happened on Shop Road after USC’s win over then-No. 1 Alabama in October 2010. About 31 possible witnesses could testify in the trial, The State reported.

The court started choosing jurors — five men and seven women -— Tuesday morning, and opening arguments were set to begin at 1:45 p.m.

The trial could run until Friday, and as it began, a judge warned spectators to control their emotions, according to The State.

—Sydney Patterson, Managing Editor