S.C. speeds up vaccine efforts, ranks high for COVID-19 vaccine use

COLUMBIA — A new national report shows South Carolina ranks among the top in the nation for how quickly the state is getting COVID-19 vaccine doses into people’s arms. Becker’s Hospital Review, a national healthcare information forum, has released its “States ranked by percentage of COVID-19 vaccines administered” and South Carolina is ranked 10th in the nation for administering more than 61 percent of the total doses of vaccine received in the state. “While South Carolina, like other states, currently faces limited supplies of vaccines, DHEC continues to work with the governor, South Carolina Hospital Association, South Carolina Medical Association, hospitals and other key providers to help get shots into the arms of South Carolinians as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Public Health Director. “Our ultimate goal is to save lives, and we thank the vaccine providers across our state for their work to get the COVID-19 vaccine out to the public as well as thanking South Carolinians for their desire to get vaccinated.” The Becker’s report uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide a uniform comparison of vaccine usage among states. It shows the rate at which doses are used based on the total number of shots given out of total doses received. In mid-January, the CDC had indicated South Carolina was among one of the lowest states for rates of doses distributed and of shots given per 100,000 people, but that reporting failed to include the more than 200,000 doses South Carolina has dedicated in lump-sum to a statewide effort for vaccinating every long-term care facility resident and staff member in the state. The CDC’s Data Tracker does not calculate a utilization rate showing the doses administered relative to doses distributed. The manner in which the Becker’s report shows the rate of vaccine use is a much better way to report vaccine utilization, especially when drawing comparisons between states. “We continue to make great progress in our vaccine rollout across South Carolina and the biggest challenge has been and continues to be the limited doses of vaccine available,” Traxler said. “All states are dealing with the challenges of ensuring every drop of vaccine is administered to those most vulnerable to COVID-19.” Until enough vaccine is available for everyone, South Carolinians should continue to take the daily disease prevention precautions that work, as COVID-19 is still spreading across our state at high levels. Even after receiving your vaccine, you’ll need to wear a mask and physically distance from others until enough of the population is vaccinated against this deadly virus.

Author: Rachel Howell

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