News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Recognizes Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine for Community-minded COVID Vaccination Efforts

January 12, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. ― Representatives from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) this week presented a Community Hero award to the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) for its continued efforts to make lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines available in communities throughout the Upstate, especially in rural and underserved areas.

In March 2021, DHEC partnered with VCOM to co-locate a COVID-19 vaccination clinic within the college’s community health center. Since then, VCOM has administered more than 8,000 COVID-19 vaccines, and the clinic’s staff and students work to promote vaccine outreach and information within the surrounding communities. VCOM also uses its Mobile Medical Unit to reach people in neighborhoods that don’t have nearby access to health care centers or clinics. VCOM’s commitment to helping those in medically-underserved areas supports DHEC’s overarching efforts to help ensure all South Carolinians have evidence-based information needed to make informed decisions about their health and equitable access to great public health and healthcare services, including immunizations like COVID-19 vaccines.

"This partnership with VCOM has been a pleasure because it has been truly a joint effort and everybody's been at the table problem solving, thinking through what works best for all involved and that's been a pleasure,” said Kandi Fredere, DHEC’s Upstate Region Public Health Director. "It benefits our communities when partners come to the table and collaborate. We greatly appreciate the VCOM team and their willingness to work on public health issues.”

VCOM Community Hero

DHEC’s Upstate Region public health leaders presented a COVID-19 Community Hero award to representatives from the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) during a special recognition on Jan. 10. VCOM has been a key partner in the Upstate for making lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines easily accessible throughout local communities.

“VCOM is both humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Dr. Matthew Cannon, VCOM’s Dean for Carolinas Campus. “Receiving this award truly is a testimony to our school’s mission: to be globally minded and community focused to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations…I’m proud to be partnering with DHEC; it’s definitely a wonderful partnership that I hope will continue to grow.”

While VCOM focused on offering COVID-19 vaccines since March 2021, the college also was able to provide routine shots to children to make sure they stayed current on important vaccinations such as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), tetanus, diphtheria, polio and chicken pox.
VCOM is a medical college for osteopathic medicine that provides the full scope of practice, including examination, diagnosis, writing prescriptions, performing surgery and providing musculoskeletal manipulation. Many VCOM graduates pursue primary care residencies to meet the needs of people in nearby communities. Learn more about the college at

Nominating a Community Hero
To nominate a Community Hero for their efforts to be a local leader and support public health actions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, submit a nomination form and a brief description of the nominee’s community involvement. DHEC will regularly announce new Community Heroes and will archive all award recipients online here.


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