GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control held a briefing Monday on the state of the pandemic in South Carolina and the effort to get people inoculated against Covid-19.
DHEC interim public health director Dr. Brannon Traxler took the opportunity to remind South Carolinians that more than 6,000 people have died from the virus so far in the state and that it will likely be months before herd immunity can be achieved.
South Carolina is set to receive between 60,000 and 64,000 first doses of Covid-19 vaccine this week, according to Traxler, plus a similar number of second doses, but that’s only a fraction of what providers have been requesting.
“Beginning two weeks ago, we saw significant increase in the amounts of vaccines that were being requested, whereas the number of doses coming into the state still was the same that we’ve been getting in previous weeks,” Traxler said.
Traxler said the biggest challenge right now is the limited number of doses available, not just in South Carolina, but across the country.
“We have not been given a timeline from the CDC at this point…we’ve been told to expect, to keep receiving what we’ve been receiving for the foreseeable future,” Traxler said.
In the meantime, vaccination efforts are ramping up. Prisma Health reports it vaccinated more than 9,300 people one day last week. Some Wal-Marts are also now administering vaccinations, according to Traxler.
The latest data available on DHEC’s website shows nearly a million people are estimated to be in phase 1a, which is the phase of vaccination where South Carolina is currently. More than 182,000 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered, and more than 18,000 Moderna doses have been administered, according to DHEC. About 313,000 vaccination appointments have been scheduled, according to DHEC.
Experts say the vaccines appear to be effective against new strains of Covid-19 that have emerged.
Dr. Traxler said no cases of the variants have been identified in South Carolina, but the state’s public health lab has been on the alert for mutated strains since June.
“…And is continuing to do so and has become even more diligent about carefully and actively looking for those instances of variance in our state,” she said.
The South Carolina board of Health and Environmental Control is meeting Tuesday: on the agenda, determining Covid-19 vaccine allocation.