DHEC Applauds SC Reaching 50 Percent One-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine Rate, Urges More Vaccinations Ahead of Academic Year
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
JULY 22, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is happy to announce that, as of Thursday, 50 percent of eligible South Carolina residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The latest vaccination data shows that 816,007 South Carolinians have received at least one dose of the Moderna vaccine, and 1,189,885 residents have received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Another 141,039 residents have received the single-dose Janssen, which means they are already fully vaccinated. Overall, 44 percent of South Carolina residents are now fully vaccinated, which means they are two weeks removed from their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer, or their single-shot of Janssen.
“This milestone is encouraging, and we thank everyone who made the decision to get vaccinated. We are especially proud of our senior citizens, ages 65 and up, who account for more than a third of our state’s vaccinations. But we still have a lot of work to do,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “We encourage our younger residents to roll up their sleeve and get this life-saving vaccine so they can protect themselves, as well as family members who may have preexisting conditions and children who are too young to get vaccinated.”
In South Carolina, our younger residents — those who are ages 20-24 and 12-19 respectively — are among the least vaccinated age groups. We are seeing significant increases in cases and hospitalizations among these younger groups, and the recent uptick in cases has been almost entirely among those who are not vaccinated. Becoming fully vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent serious illness and even death from COVID-19 infection.
Residents who have not gotten their second shot are encouraged to get it now to complete their vaccination. If you missed your second shot appointment or it’s been more than the recommended 21 or 28 days since your first dose, that’s ok. DHEC encourages you to complete your vaccination as soon as possible. Vaccinations are more important than ever due to increased cases of the Delta variant and other Variants of Concern identified by the CDC. These variants have made COVID-19 more transmissible and increase the risk of severe sickness, hospitalization, and death.
This is especially concerning as children prepare for the new 2021-2022 school year. Between June 1 and July 15, at least 150 COVID-19 cases were reported among South Carolina residents who attended or worked at a summer camp. These camps include children who attend sleepovers, as well as day camps in a variety of settings.
“These numbers are a snapshot of what could happen in our schools this year if more parents, students, teachers, and other school officials don’t get vaccinated,” Simmer added. “At this time last year, we did not have a solution to defeat COVID-19. Now we do. We don’t want this deadly virus spreading in our school or communities. Vaccinations will help us end this pandemic, and we need all eligible residents to be on board.”
DHEC is currently finalizing its guidance for South Carolina schools and will make it available next week. Visit DHEC’s information page for more information on the vaccines, and the locator page to schedule a vaccine appointment.