New DHEC data ranks Saluda Co. amongst the least vaccinated communities

New DHEC data ranks Saluda Co. amongst the least vaccinated communities

SALUDA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccination process is picking up speed, but Saluda County is lagging behind.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control updated its vaccine dashboard to show the rate at which each county’s residents are getting vaccinated.

Saluda County ranks second to last in the state, with only 986 eligible residents vaccinated per 10,000.

Local health leaders did not cite a lack of access as a concern. On March 4, DHEC’s vaccination site map showed four different clinics were accepting appointments.

County EMD Director Josh Morton pointed to the lack of a hospital in the county. Saluda County is one of eight counties statewide without one.

In the earliest days of the roll-out, only the Pfizer vaccine was available. Traditionally, only hospitals had the cold storage needed to distribute it.

“It was a bit more of a challenge for us to get it in,” he said.

Emmanuel Family Clinic Office Manager Debra Cleveland said resistance to the vaccine remains.

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“I think a lot of people are still scared to get it. They’re not sure about the side-effects of the shot, or the availability even still,” she said.

Cleveland said her office has administered 300 shots in the last week, but an estimated 90 percent of the patients were from different counties.

Patricia Johnson got a shot at Cleveland’s clinic on Thursday and pointed to disinformation on social media.

“Social media, you see a lot of things on there. I saw (sic) something where after you take the shot this is what you’re going to end up like,” she said, appearing to reference a meme.

Morton said despite the statistics, Saluda County will improve over its slow start as the vaccination process continues to pick up speed.

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