DHEC reports South Carolina hits a 50% vaccine rate among eligible residents

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 6:57 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - After months of asking South Carolinians to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 shot, the Palmetto State has finally crossed another big milestone on the path to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

Getting half of the eligible population fully vaccinated.

“We still have a long way to go but making that milestone is a big deal,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon, of Tidelands Health.

Neighboring North Carolina hit the milestone already, while Georgia still lags behind with a vaccination rate at 46%.

Harmon says both Horry and Georgetown counties are actually more vaccinated than the rest of the state. As of Friday, 60% of residents in Georgetown County are vaccinated while 57% of residents in Horry County have gotten their shots.

He said even more people in both counties are partially vaccinated.

“I’d like to see the rest of the state match where we are. And we’re really on track to be 70% if we finish up the second doses. I think by the end of the year, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to look at 80%,” Harmon said.

To get there, Tidelands Health said they’ve had to change up how they give out the shot, from mass clinics to having doses inside every primary care office.

Now they’re evening bringing doses to the sidelines of Georgetown County high school football games and are continuing to use mobile clinics.

Harmon says he knows there’s a percentage of people who just won’t get the shot. But for those with hesitations, he wants them to ask him questions.

“None of us are judging your mental competency your IQ, your moral judgment,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is answer, with scientifically valid honest heartfelt, from the books, factual information. I’ve had people come to me as recently as this week and say well ‘Doc, I’m just not ready for it.’ I say ‘What would make you ready for it? What’s the resistance?’ ‘Well, I’m worried I might get cancer in 10 years or I might have a sterility or fertility problem.’ I explain to them, this won’t do that.”

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