News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Supports U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on COVID-19 Vaccinations, Rejecting Misinformation

JULY 20, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C.— U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a warning Thursday to the American public about the danger of COVID-19 misinformation, which has contributed to less people getting vaccinated. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) supports Murthy’s advisory and continues its call for Palmetto State residents to arm themselves with facts, then get a life-saving vaccine.

Murthy’s full advisory can be found here.

He points out recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation that states 67 percent of unvaccinated individuals have heard at least one myth about COVID-19 that they deemed to be true or were unsure of. “Health misinformation is an urgent threat to public health. It can cause confusion, sow mistrust, and undermine public health efforts, including our ongoing work to end the COVID-19 pandemic," Murthy wrote. "As Surgeon General, my job is to help people stay safe and healthy, and without limiting the spread of health misinformation, American lives are at risk.”

DHEC applauds the Surgeon’s General’s advisory and appreciates his willingness to share how COVID-19 has impacted his family. During a Thursday briefing, Murthy revealed that he has lost 10 family members to COVID-19. His tragic losses have unfortunately become commonplace, including here in South Carolina where nearly 9,900 residents have died from COVID-19.

DHEC’s own Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler lost her grandmother to COVID-19 on May 7, 2020. Last Spring, with her family’s support, Dr. Traxler shared her story of loss in the agency’s Fight the Spread PSA campaign. By continuously sharing her personal COVID experience, she is honoring her beloved grandmother while also trying to spare other families from the same fate. “Vaccines weren’t available when my Meme died,” said Traxler. “If they had been, I would have strongly encouraged her to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to stay healthy and here with us longer.”

As Murthy and Traxler have mentioned, many of these deaths could have been prevented with the help of a COVID-19 vaccination. Recent analysis from DHEC showed that during the first two weeks of June, more than 90 percent of cases and hospitalizations in South Carolina, and 100 percent of deaths, were among unvaccinated residents. DHEC strongly urges South Carolinians to consider this data, seek out accurate information from CDC or DHEC, and find a vaccine location as soon as possible so residents can protect themselves and their loved ones.




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