COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina's health agency, DHEC, said that 50 percent of South Carolinians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The push to continue to grow that number continues.
While state leaders say this benchmark is a major milestone, the work to get more shots in arms continues.
DHEC director Edward Simmer released a statement saying in part, “Reaching this 50 percent benchmark is a testament to the countless hours DHEC and partner staff have put into putting these life-saving doses into arms. It’s also indicative of our outreach efforts, work with local and state leaders, and so many others who understand how important vaccination is to ending this pandemic.”
All hands are on deck to make vaccines accessible to people in all corners of the Midlands. The public transit system The Comet’s “Don’t Miss Your Shot” campaign started in February offering free transportation to local vaccine sites in the Midlands.
“It feels good to be a part of something that really makes a positive impact on the community and this whole pandemic is a public health crisis,” said COMET marketing director Pamela Bynoe-Reed.
Since the start of the campaign, transportation went up by 15 percent.
“We wanted to make sure that everyone in Richland and Lexington Counties and in our service areas would have access to go get the vaccine should they choose to do so,” said Bynoe-Reed.
From May to August, COMET has offered 630 rides through its rideshare partnership with Uber and Lyft. They said they’ve made an active effort to reach folks in the rural areas like Lower Richland.
“We’re here in whatever capacity that we need to be to move people to get them to where they need to go especially as it pertains to health services,” she said.
It has also been offering vaccines and COVID testing at its transit hub. They’ve served 3,640 people to date.
As South Carolina continues to work toward its 70 to 80 percent vaccination rate goal, Simmer said in part, "The mission is not over because the pandemic is not over. We need more South Carolinians to step up and get vaccinated so we can stamp COVID out once and for all.”