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South Carolina governor pushes back against 'door-to-door' vaccination education efforts

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is pushing back against the idea of door-to-door vaccine education efforts suggested by President Biden.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — President Joe Biden is pushing to get volunteers to knock on doors to help educate Americans about COVID-19 vaccines and, ultimately, get more Americans vaccinated. Now, state leaders across the country are pushing back, including South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. 

RELATED: White House calls out McMaster for criticizing door-to-door vaccine push

In an effort to step up vaccination efforts, President Biden on Tuesday said, “Now, we need to go to community-by-community, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and oftentimes, door-to-door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus." The remark came during a discussion about what it would take to reach millions of unvaccinated Americans.

After pushback from Arizona and Missouri governors, the White House clarified the remarks on Friday, saying, "This is grassroots volunteers. This is members of the clergy. These are volunteers who believe that people across the country, especially in low vaccinated areas, should have accurate information, should have information about where they can get vaccinated, where they can save their own lives and their neighbors' lives, and their family members' lives."

RELATED: Missouri governor doesn't want door-to-door vaccine help

Governor Henry McMaster is not on board. In a statement he said, "A South Carolinian's decision to get vaccinated is a personal one for them to make and not the government's. Enticing, coercing, intimidating, mandating, or pressuring anyone to take the vaccine is a bad policy, which will deteriorate the public's trust and confidence in the State's vaccination efforts."

RELATED: Gov. McMaster wants to prohibit 'door to door' vaccine efforts

On Friday, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) responded in a letter from DHEC director Edward Simmer saying, "Vaccine outreach efforts have not and will not include unsolicited door-to-door visits. DHEC does offer in-home vaccines through our homebound vaccination program, but only if specifically requested in advance by the person being vaccinated."

DHEC say they have several vaccination efforts in place, including their Shot with a Chaser campaign, ending July 10th. The agency say they're talking with various organizations and local festivals about possible incentives to get people vaccinated. DHEC's homebound program was expanded last month, working to get homebound residents vaccinated.

RELATED: Home vaccination in SC: Who's eligible, how to schedule

RELATED: DHEC expands Homebound Project to all SC counties

Assistant state epidemiologist Dr. Jane Kelly says it's critical more South Carolinians vaccinated.

"The overwhelming majority of people who are continuing to get COVID-19  and who have severe disease and have been hospitalized or are dying from COVID-19 were those that aren't fully vaccinated," Dr. Kelly said.

RELATED: DHEC looks at COVID cases and vaccinations: 'It could have helped to save their lives'

RELATED: SC COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations almost exclusively among people who are not vaccinated