DHEC launches new demographics dashboard on vaccine distribution in S.C.

Updated: Feb. 15, 2021 at 7:29 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has released its long-awaited demographics dashboard for the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a release sent out Monday, DHEC said the dashboard provides information on age group, gender, race, and ethnicity of those who have received COVID-19 vaccines in the state.

DHEC cautioned the resource is provisional and subject to change, and that it is dependent on the information that providers record.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard can be found at this link. DHEC officials said it will be updated daily.

WMBF Investigates is crunching the data provided to better understand how fairly the vaccine has been distributed across the Palmetto State.

Preliminary data showed that although the Black community makes up about 27% of South Carolina’s population, only 12.49% of the vaccine has gone to this part of the population.

Meanwhile, 63.48% of the vaccine have gone to white people, which is less than the state’s average share of the population, 68.6%.

There could be a number of reasons for why this is since the vaccine is only open to select age groups and professions.

But state lawmakers and DHEC leaders have agreed that there are concerns about our rural areas that haven’t had as much access to nearby vaccine providers.

What can be easily seen is the skew of vaccine distribution favoring older populations.

Two-thirds of vaccine doses have gone to people 65 years of age and older. Roughly 37% of those vaccinated have been women who are 65 years of age and older. Roughly 29% of those vaccinated have been men 65 years of age and older.

WMBF Investigates first obtained data related to residency of those receiving the vaccine earlier this month. Now, this information will be available and updated regularly on the dashboard.

As of Monday, 646,139 vaccine doses had been administered to South Carolinians. Meanwhile, the state tracked 18,809 doses that have been administered to people from other states. But 12,726 doses did not have a state listed with it.

The dashboard shows the number of vaccinations administered in each county. It’s important to note that this does not mean how many people have received the vaccine in each county.

Charleston County leads the state with the most vaccines administered, followed by Greenville, Richland, Horry and finally Florence counties.

More urban areas are more likely to have higher amounts of vaccine since large hospital systems were the first providers to start vaccinating.

During DHEC’s board meeting last week, leaders said that they’ve noticed a pattern of people crossing county lines in pursuit of an appointment.

“This demographics data is meaningful for several reasons, but most importantly, as more people begin getting their shots in future phases of the vaccine plan, we’ll have a big-picture look at the types of people who may be lagging in receiving their shots,” said Nick Davidson, DHEC’s senior deputy for public health, in a statement. “Having that information will allow us to directly connect with those communities and ensure they have fair and equal access to vaccines and ensure we as the state’s public health agency have a clear understanding of any limitations and can address those limitations immediately. South Carolina remains dedicated to the fair and equitable distribution of vaccine to everyone.”

DHEC said as more vaccine becomes available and more South Carolinians can receive their shots, the demographics dashboard will grow.

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