COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The Palmetto State has hit a historic milestone as it forges ahead to vaccinate people from the deadly coronavirus.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced on Tuesday that over one million Pfizer and Moderna first and second doses have been given.
It was the same day that Gov. Henry McMaster and DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer announced the state’s progress and that South Carolina is now advancing to the next phase, Phase 1b, on Monday, March 8.
“Getting the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of one million people in the matter of just a few months is a testament to our state’s commitment to ending the COVID-19 pandemic in South Carolina,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “We thank our local leaders, providers and community partners for your tireless work in helping us get the vaccine into our communities. During the coming days, weeks and months ahead, we hope to see even more South Carolinians getting vaccinated.”
Also this week, DHEC announced the state has received about 41,000 doses of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine.
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State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell believes this new vaccine will be a game-changer for South Carolina.
“We believe this new vaccine will help speed up vaccination efforts across the state because it’s a single-dose shot and also can be stored easily, at refrigerated temperatures, for several months,” Bell said. “When it’s your turn, I recommend you get any vaccine offered to you. Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen vaccines are all safe and effective at preventing severe illness and deaths.”
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As thousands continue to get vaccinated in South Carolina, it could still be summer before enough of the population is vaccinated and current health precautions can be relaxed.
DHEC said until 70-80% of the population is vaccinated, everyone should still take the same precautions such as wearing a face mask and avoiding large gatherings.