DHEC working to bring COVID-19 vaccines to rural communities

South Carolina News

FILE – In this Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 file photo, empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are seen at a vaccination center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Las Vegas. Makers of COVID-19 vaccines need everything to go right as they scale up from early-stage production to hundreds of millions of doses – and any little hiccup could cause a delay. (AP Photo/John Locher)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Friday announced that additional COVID-19 vaccine doses will be allocated to “providers who reach our rural communities.”

According to DHEC, the following steps are being taken to address the need in underserved communities:

  • Ensuring vaccines are provided to our rural practices and Federally Quality Health Centers (FQHCs) in our rural communities.
  • Continuing to offer vaccinations at clinic events across the state through DHEC’s local health departments or other locations, many of which are in mostly rural counties. To date, DHEC has given 12,616 vaccinations at 104 clinic events across the state. Of those, 6,474 vaccinations have been provided at 56 events in our mostly rural counties. DHEC’s local health departments also serve as regional hubs to help connect hospitals and providers at the local level. 
  • Working to get mobile units, more DHEC clinics, and other providers into our state’s rural and underserved communities who are often hardest hit by this disease. 
  • Providing to vaccine providers more of the supplies needed to give shots that did not come in the federal government kits. These supplies include things such as gloves, Band-Aids, face shields, alcohol preps, etc.  

DHEC is also establishing up to 46 teams that would be “deployed to maximize availability of COVID-19 vaccinations across the state.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell explained:

“South Carolina recognizes the importance of reaching our vulnerable communities, including our rural and underserved communities, and people of color. Together, with our providers and community partners, our state is committed to using different approaches to ensure doses are getting in the arms of our most vulnerable and underserved citizens.”

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