ROCK HILL, S.C. — South Carolina leaders are working to increase COVID-19 vaccine distribution across the state, as a new vaccine clinic will be announced in York County Thursday.
This initiative comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said South Carolina has received the lowest number of vaccines per capita in the U.S. Only two states, Alabama and Georgia, have given out fewer vaccines per capita, according to CDC data. For every 100,000 people, South Carolina received approximately 6,800 doses, according to the CDC.
On Wednesday, Publix stores began giving out COVID-19 shots at all 42 locations across South Carolina. Harris Teeter will join them Thursday, as pharmacies statewide begin to administer vaccinations. Publix only received about 100 doses per store of the vaccine, far too little supply compared to the number of seniors trying to schedule appointments.
"We're now seeing every dose get rapidly taken up," said Dr. Brannon Traxler, interim public health director for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
With South Carolina ranking last in the per capita number of vaccines per resident, Traxler said that means every available appointment is quickly filled.
"We understand it is hard to be patient and wait for appointments that may be a few weeks out," Dr. Traxler said. "We're happy so many are making their spot in line to receive the vaccine."
It’s all hands on deck, members of the South Carolina State Guard and National Guard are helping answer the phones that are ringing off the hook. They’re receiving an average of 24,000 calls a day, as many people try to make a vaccination appointment.