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DHEC: New COVID-19 vaccine should be available in SC soon

Novavax was approved by the CDC for use against COVID-19 in persons 18 years and older
Credit: AP

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Following yesterday's announcement by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it has approved a fourth vaccine for use against COVID-19, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said it should have doses of the new Novavax vaccine available for those who want it as early as the week of July 25.

The approval of Novavax will offer those who have been hesitant about getting vaccinated a new alternative. Novavax differs from previous vaccines in that it uses a traditional virus-blocking technology -- one already widely used in vaccines used to prevent conditions such as shingles, the human papillomavirus and others -- rather than genetic coding used by Pfizer and Moderna, or the manipulated cold virus used by Johnson & Johnson.

RELATED: CDC endorses more traditional Novavax COVID shot for adults

Like Pfizer and Moderna, Novavax is a two-dose vaccine. While it has been approved for those 18 and older, studies are underway to determine its usefulness in adolescents as well. 

Studies done in the US, Mexico and Britain have shown two doses of Novavax are 90% effective preventing symptomatic COVID-19.

The first doses of Novavax could begin arriving in South Carolina as early as next week, said Louis Eubank, DHEC’s COVID-19 director.

RELATED: City of Columbia, DHEC to offer COVID-19 vaccines, testing in July

The latest COVID-19 numbers in South Carolina, as of July 16, show that the number of COVID-19 cases are slowly rising with 13,772 cases reported (an increase of 3.9% from the week before), and 477 hospitalizations (an increase of 13.8%)

In the weekly COVID-19 county check that looks at data in individual counties throughout South Carolina and rates community levels as high, medium, or low, Richland, Lexington, Fairfield, Newberry, Sumter counties are designated as having a high community level. At this level, you should be wearing a face mask while indoors in public and get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Kershaw and Orangeburg counties' community level is medium. If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about the need to wear a mask and take other precautions.

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