SC health officials ‘encouraged’ by initial vaccination numbers for 12-15 age group


COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — According to the state health department, as of Wednesday afternoon close to 9,000 South Carolinians in the 12-15 age group have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said they’re ‘encouraged’ by this number. She did not share what state health officials originally anticipated the vaccination rate would be for this group.

“As of Wednesday, we’re reporting that we have 8,949 South Carolinians in that age range who have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine,” Dr. Bell said.

According to Bell, every shot given to eligible South Carolinians means DHEC is another step closer to it’s goal of ending the pandemic. She said vaccinating adolescents will help the state reach herd immunity.

She’s hopeful vaccination rates for the 12-15 age group continues to increase in the future. Bell said, “It’s hard to say what we’re predicting but what we want to see is a continued and stronger turnout in that age group.”

Dr. Bell said, “We don’t want anyone to forget that getting the vaccine is the only way to protect yourself reliably and for a longer period of time.”

DHEC said they’re working with the state Department of Education and their partners on teenage outreach. They’re also working on establishing vaccine clinics in school settings in interested school districts for students and families who want to get vaccinated.

Dr. Bell said, “We’re not sure how many will take advantage of this as we lay those plans out but we will continue to encourage all those locations that are convenient for families and adolescents to make sure access is there.”

According to DHEC, about 35% of South Carolinians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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