Columbia, SC (WSPA) – August is National Immunization Awareness Month and SC DHEC is making a push this week for children to get required shots so they can attend school or daycares with some protection.

SC-DHEC officials and Prisma Health physicians will speak in a media event Monday about the importance of immunizations, urging everyone aged 12 and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Doctors say people may be hesitant to get vaccinated, but that it is recommended because the Delta variant is so contagious.

Time is a factor with vaccines, since doses need to be spaced out 3 weeks between Pfizer doses and 4 weeks between Moderna doses.

According to DHEC, more than 1,400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine expired over the weekend and 17,000 more doses will be expired by the end of August.

DHEC said the state can share unused doses with other states by going through the CDC, but they cannot at this time share with other countries.

“A lot of work went into the vaccine and went into getting it pushed out, and there’s a lot of countries in the world that are still waiting for the vaccine and could desperately use what we’ve got here,” Dr. Brian Blank, Owner of Ember Modern Medicine, said.

The 2021-2022 school year will begin in Spartanburg County on August 16 and on August 17 in Greenville County and Anderson County.