COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — Data from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control shows that Pee Dee counties are lagging behind Grand Strand counties in getting people vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to DHEC’s vaccine online dashboard on Friday, more than 705,760 of South Carolina’s 4,106,800 people older than 15 have received at least one vaccine dose, which is about 17.2% of the population. Some Pee Dee counties are below that statewide average and health leaders are trying to make sure vaccine access is more equal.
In a time when it can be so hard to get a COVID-19 vaccine, DHEC says it’s concerned some people in parts of the state aren’t taking advantage of open appointments.
“I can be pretty certain that the demand will increase greatly, and it probably already has, starting Monday with [phase] 1b,” said Nick Davidson, DHEC’s senior deputy for public health, during a virtual media briefing Friday.
State lawmakers decided vaccines should be distributed by region, rather than county, to try and get all parts of the state covered.
“As large four regions within the state, the region will get what the region deserves on a per capita basis,” Davidson said.
According to DHEC’s data, fewer people in smaller counties in the Pee Dee are getting vaccinated. Horry and Georgetown counties have the highest percentage in our area, with more than one out of every five people over 15 vaccinated. Dillon, Marion and Marlboro counties are all behind the statewide average, with only about 15 percent of Marlboro County residents getting at least one dose.
|County||Population Older Than 15||Vaccinated Residents||Percent of Population Vaccinated|
DHEC says it wants to educate more people about the importance of getting vaccinated without wasting doses, especially as phase 1b begins.
“We certainly won’t continue to send vaccine to providers within those areas who just don’t have the demand for it, so we’ll work closely with providers,” Davidson said.
Horry County also has a higher percentage of people over 15 who have received a vaccine dose than similar sized counties, like Charleston (20.2%), Richland (14.9%) and Spartanburg (13.8%) counties.