HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — More people “affiliated with Horry County Government” have been vaccinated than there are county employees, according to an update sent out by the county Friday evening.
In an email update sent out Friday, Horry County said it has vaccinated about 2,319 people “affiliated with Horry County Government.” County Spokesperson Kelly Moore told News13 Friday the county has 2,250 employees.
Horry County Fire Rescue (HCFR) is a designated COVID-19 vaccine provider solely for county employees to get the vaccine. However, a letter from the county’s EMS manager Ben Lawson states the department is also allowing an additional person, designated by a county employee to get vaccinated.
“Those doses were not designed for the public or whatever,” said Johnny Vaught, an Horry County councilman. “They were designed to keep government services working at the county level.”
Vaught said the county ordered vaccines from South Carolina DHEC specifically for county employees.
DHEC sent a letter to the county Sunday after it received reports of people outside of the Phase 1a group receiving vaccines from HCFR. The letter asks for a record of who has been vaccinated by the program in Horry County as well as how the distribution was planned.
News13 previously asked Moore who falls under the “designee” category. She responded saying, “We are not providing additional interpretation outside of the information we have already released.”
News13 obtained the letter Horry County Fire Rescue sent to DHEC in response. In the letter, Horry County Fire Rescue said it spoke with Alexandra Hayes and Donna McNeil of DHEC before any vaccines were administered and were told to vaccinate people “as quickly as possible and with as little waste as possible.”
“In consideration with that guidance, employees who opted to receive the vaccine were granted a designee to also receive a vaccine with an emphasis on those who met Phase 1a criteria,” the letter says. “We recognize and appreciate the criteria system and will continue to assist the state in this critical mission.”
Horry County Fire Rescue said it is committed to working with DHEC and partner agencies in the vaccination rollout and said it is willing to discuss the matter further with DHEC.
DHEC has a call set up with Horry County for early next week to discuss the details of the county’s vaccination administrations to determine the next steps.