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Rural church helping spearhead McCormick Co. vaccine rollout, which leads state per capita

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 7:33 PM EDT
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McCORMICK COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - Speed is the name of the game for South Carolina’s vaccine roll-out, and no county has been moving more quickly than McCormick County.

Department of Health and Environmental Control data shows the county leads the state in residents vaccinated per capita.

As of April 5, the county has had 4,567 out of every 10,000 residents receive a dose.

There are a handful of vaccination sites within the county, but on April 5 the department recognized New Hope Missionary Baptist Church for its efforts, naming it a “Community Hero” for the 17 DHEC vaccine clinics it hosted, translating to 2,051 doses administered.

The church hosted another clinic on Wednesday, and Pastor Michael A. Butler said the church will offer its facilities as long as DHEC needs them.

“We’re ready to forge on and help as much as we can to get this thing under control,” he said.

He said the community’s experience with the virus is a driving factor for locals getting vaccinated.

“One thing about the people of New Hope we are a loving and caring people, and our families, and when you can’t go to funerals or have funerals the way we traditionally are able to do it, you can’t travel to funerals, that has been hurtful as anything else,” he said.

He also credited community trust in its leaders when they recommend getting vaccinated. That assessment was echoed by McCormick County Administrator Columbus Stephens.

“We usually use the phrase the RUT factor, respect, understanding, and trust. We have a great collaboration between the community, county council members, and other entities also,” he said.

DHEC data of McCormick County’s rollout shows the younger African American community is getting vaccinated more frequently than their counterparts across the state.

US Census Data shows the county is 44.5 percent African American or Black alone, and DHEC data shows it’s received 30 percent of the doses.

As of April 5, African Americans represent the largest bloc of vaccinated residents under the age of 54 except for females ages 16 to 24.

Meanwhile, 27 percent of the state population is African American or Black alone, and that community has received 16.8 percent of doses. Statewide, it does not represent the largest bloc in any race/gender vaccination categories.

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