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McMaster wants to prohibit door-to-door vaccination efforts in SC

DHEC says it has not and will not go door to door in SC
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster
Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 3:21 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2021 at 4:13 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster reached out to South Carolina’s Board of Health and Environmental Control on Friday asking it to prevent state and local health care workers from going door to door to administer vaccines or speak with people about COVID-19 vaccines.

“A South Carolinian’s decision to get vaccinated is a personal one for them to make and not the government’s,” the governor wrote. “Enticing, coercing, intimidating, mandating or pressuring anyone to take the vaccine is a bad policy which will deteriorate the public’s trust.”

McMaster added: “The prospect of government vaccination teams showing up unannounced or unrequested at the door of ‘targeted’ homeowners or on their property will further deteriorate the public’s trust and could lead to potentially disastrous public safety consequences.”

It’s important to note -- no “government vaccination teams” are going door to door administering shots.

President Joe Biden and his administration have discussed sending trusted community leaders to visit areas with low vaccination rates to discuss people’s concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Those teams would offer information, encourage vaccines and help people find a place to get vaccinated, but would not actually offer shots.

The president did not make clear in his remarks who would lead those teams, but the issue was clarified by his press secretary, Jen Psaki, Friday.

“This is not federal employees going door to door,” Psaki said. “This is grassroots volunteers. This is members of the clergy. These are volunteers who believe that people across the country, especially in low vaccinated areas, should have accurate information.”

The Biden administration has also repeatedly said it is not interested in mandating the vaccine or requiring proof of vaccination.

South Carolina’s top health agency, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, responded to McMaster saying it does not -- and will not -- conduct unsolicited door-to-door vaccination efforts.

But DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer did say “it’s critical for those who are not fully vaccinated to understand they are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk.”

RELATED | Majority of COVID hospitalizations, deaths are in unvaccinated people, SC Health Dept. says

Simmer made clear that data show that those who have recently been hospitalized and died from COVID-19 are those who are not fully vaccinated.

“Getting vaccinated is a personal choice,” Simmer said. “DHEC’s role and responsibility is to protect public health by increasing factual knowledge, awareness and access to COVID-19 vaccines.”

DHEC does offer in-home vaccinations for homebound individuals, but only by request. To make an appointment, call 1-866-365-8110.

Biden’s press secretary, Psaki, was also directly asked about McMaster’s statements during her daily briefing Friday.

>> Get answers to VAX FAQs on wistv.com

“The failure to provide accurate public health information, including the efficacy of vaccines and the accessibility of them to people across the country, including South Carolina, is literally killing people,” Psaki said. “So maybe they should consider that.”

McMaster fired back at Psaki by tweeting that public health recommendations from Dr. Fauci and the Biden administration are constantly changing.

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