South Carolina lawmakers push for quicker vaccination process

There have been some recent discrepancies when it comes to the number of reported COVID-19...
There have been some recent discrepancies when it comes to the number of reported COVID-19 cases in South Carolina.State health officials say that’s because some testing sites don’t report results on time.(Live 5 News)
Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 6:47 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina state health officials say while more vaccines continue to arrive in the state, doses are limited.

As of Tuesday, The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said the state received 112,125 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 31,511 doses have been administered.

State Senator Marlon Kimpson says he recently joined a partisan group of state legislatures who are calling on DHEC to put fourth what they call a “viable plan” to get people vaccinated in South Carolina.

DHEC officials said they continue to rollout their “state’s carefully crafted vaccination plan.” You can view it here. Some state lawmakers say they expected more of those doses to already be administered.

“We should be operating 24/7 with every state agency who has the capacity to administer the vaccine and coordinate with the private facilities,” Kimpson said.

DHEC says South Carolina is above the national average for vaccination administrations. State health official say the statewide vaccination percentage per doses received by the federal government is at 31 percent. They say the national average is 19 percent and that South Carolina is nearly double that of other southeastern states.

“We are in a pandemic a deadly pandemic and we have to make sure we have all hands-on deck 24/7,” Kimpson said.

State health officials say shots are administered each day.

According to DHEC, South Carolina will continue to receive weekly doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They say the number of doses the state receives each week is expected to vary and won’t be known for certain until the vaccine shipments are received from the federal government.

State health officials say the state received 84,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine for long-term care facilities. The vaccines allocated to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention Longterm Care program and works with CVS and Walgreens Pharmacies to administer them. DHEC says it dedicates doses of the state’s vaccine to the program and has a limited role in the federal program.

“We’re going to be talking about pulling kids out of school, we’re going to be talking about closing businesses the beaches and locking up the boat ways if South Carolinas don’t get vaccinated,” Kimpson said.

South Carolina State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell says it is unknown the amount of time before everyone who would like to be vaccinated can receive the vaccine.

On Dec. 7, state health officials say the federal government indicated that South Carolina would receive 200,000 to 300,000 doses by the end of the year, but that it was subject to change.

“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,” Bell said. “When it’s my turn, I’ll be among the first in line waiting to receive the vaccine, but until then, I’ll continue to take the daily actions that protect myself, my loved ones and my community. It is incumbent upon each of us to wear our masks, stay physically distanced, get tested regularly and stay home if we’re ill with any symptoms.”

DHEC says it will continue to provide regular updates on the COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina.

Kimpson says he’s talked with retired nurses who say they would help administer the vaccine if there were opportunities for it.

Live 5′s News reached out to DHEC to get more information about the vaccination administering process.

We reached out to Senator Sandy Senn about the vaccination concerns. Her contact at DHEC says the majority of doses were shipped directly to healthcare facilities and that it’s their responsibility to administer them, not DHEC.

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