COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Thirty-one percent of the vaccine doses that have arrived in South Carolina have been administered to people across the state, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
DHEC reports 35,158 of the 112,125 doses in the state have been injected into people’s arms. The agency added this is a higher percentage than other states in the Southeast including North Carolina and Georgia.
“Our overarching goal is to prevent further loss of life to this deadly virus, and with our state’s irreplaceable front-line medical workers and vulnerable nursing home and long-term care facility residents and staff receiving the vaccine, we are well on our way to meeting that goal,” said, State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell.
However, state lawmakers are expressing concern with the administration of vaccines across the state.
Sen. Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston) tweeted, “At this pace, we’ll be here next year having the same conversation.” Republican Sen. Shane Massey (R-Aiken) echoed Kimpson’s statements online saying this concern was “bipartisan.”
“It will be an unknown amount of time before everyone who would like to be vaccinated can receive the vaccine,” Dr. Bell said. “We are calling on all South Carolinians to continue to be patient and understand that an endeavor like this will take many weeks to complete the initial phases and months to achieve our ultimate goal of coverage for the population.”
But how many doses a day need to be administered in order for South Carolina to achieve herd immunity by the fall?
Here’s a rough estimate:
- There are 328 million Americans (per the U.S. Census and the World Bank)
- Dr. Anthony Fauci estimates 70 to 90% of Americans need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.
- For the sake of this estimate, let’s use 80% as the percentage needed to achieve herd immunity
- That is 250 million people (0.80 times 328 million)
- But some people are too young to receive the vaccine and others will outright refuse to take it
- Let’s say 190 Americans need to be vaccinated by October 1st to achieve herd immunity by the fall
- October 1 is roughly 275 days away
- 380 million doses of the vaccine are needed because the vaccine requires two shots per person (190 Americans times two)
- 1.4 million vaccines a day needed for the U.S. to roughly achieve herd immunity (380 million divided by 275)
- There are roughly 5 million people in South Carolina (per the U.S. Census)
- Therefore, S.C. makes up about 1.65% of the U.S. population (5 million divided by 328 million times 100)
- 1.65% of 1.4 million daily doses is about 23,000 doses a day
- South Carolina needs to administer about 23,000 doses a day, including holidays, to reach a rough estimate of herd immunity by October 1.
At this point, it has taken South Carolina roughly 15 days to administer more than 35,000 doses. Rep. Neal Collins (R-Pickens) has been closely tracking the spread of COVID-19, the availability of testing, and the distribution of the vaccine in South Carolina. He says he is hoping the speed of vaccination increases significantly in the new year.
“Doing 2,000 a day like we did in the first two weeks, it’ll take us a month just to get through teachers in South Carolina, so obviously we need more doses. We need to make sure that distribution chain is efficient,” he said.
In public statements, DHEC is continuing to insist the state is on track.
“We continue to successfully roll out our state’s carefully crafted statewide vaccination plan and the number of Phase 1A individuals who can currently receive the vaccine is increasing each week,” Dr. Bell said.