Jul. 22—Nearly half of eligible South Carolina residents have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state's health agency.
The latest vaccination data shows that 816,007 South Carolinians have received at least one dose of the Moderna vaccine, and 1,189,885 residents have received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Another 141,039 residents have received the single-dose Janssen, which means they are already fully vaccinated. Overall, 44% of South Carolina residents are now fully vaccinated.
Aiken County's numbers are lower than the state average, with about 37% of residents having received at least one vaccine dose and around 32% being fully vaccinated.
"This milestone is encouraging, and we thank everyone who made the decision to get vaccinated. We are especially proud of our senior citizens, ages 65 and up, who account for more than a third of our state's vaccinations. But we still have a lot of work to do," said DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer. "We encourage our younger residents to roll up their sleeves and get this life-saving vaccine so they can protect themselves, as well as family members who may have preexisting conditions and children who are too young to get vaccinated."
In South Carolina, younger residents — those ages 20-24 and 12-19 respectively — are among the least vaccinated age groups. DHEC says it has seen significant increases in cases and hospitalizations among these younger groups, and the recent uptick in cases has been almost entirely among those who are not vaccinated.
Being fully vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent serious illness and even death from COVID-19, according to the agency, especially with increased case numbers of the Delta variant and other variants of concern identified by the CDC.
"These numbers are a snapshot of what could happen in our schools this year if more parents, students, teachers and other school officials don't get vaccinated," Simmer said. "At this time last year, we did not have a solution to defeat COVID-19. Now we do. We don't want this deadly virus spreading in our school or communities. Vaccinations will help us end this pandemic, and we need all eligible residents to be on board."
Residents who wish to schedule a vaccine appointment can visit vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov to find a location near them.