Sen. Goldfinch calls on McMaster to make general head of S.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort

Sen. Goldfinch calls on McMaster to make general head of S.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort
A South Carolina National Guardsmen administers a COVID-19 vaccine at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital. (Source: SC National Guard)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – Two state senators are asking South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster to appoint a general as head of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort.

The Jan. 21 letter was co-signed by Sen. Stephen Goldfinch, a Republican serving the Murrells Inlet area, and Sen. Nikki Setzler, a Democrat for District 26. It asks that McMaster tap former Adjutant Gen. Bob Livingston to be COVID logistics director for the state of S.C.

According to the senators, the logistics of receiving, distributing, and injecting increased future doses of the vaccine is of a magnitude that the Department of Health and Environmental Control is, “respectfully, not prepared to handle.”

For four hours on Thursday, DHEC leaders faced tough questioning from several S.C. lawmakers about the vaccine distribution across the state.

Rep. Weston Newton, the chairman of the ad-hoc committee created to study DHEC’s receipt and distribution of the vaccines, opened up the meeting by saying that the state is moving at an “unacceptable” pace when it comes to distribution.

In their letter, senators Goldfinch and Setzler said their belief is it is “crucial to enlist the assistance of a person with experience and logistical knowledge to develop and implement immediately a statewide logistics plan for receipt, distribution, and injection of vaccines received by the state.

“This person should be highly qualified in order to coordinate efforts between providers, the National Guard, local government, DHEC, hospitals and the federal government,” the letter states.

The senators are asking McMaster to issue an executive order naming Livingston as the person to oversee the logistics of distributing the vaccine statewide.

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