CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The United States fell just short of President Joe Biden’s goal to have at least 70% of Americans receive one or both doses of the COVID-19 shot by the 4th of July. The President set the goal for himself back in April. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says 67% of Americans have started the process. South Carolina leaders are urging vaccinations as variants become more widespread.
The country falling three percent shy of the goal and while some states met the 70% goal, South Carolina lags behind with less than half of the state’s population receiving one or more doses of a vaccine shot.
The Biden Administration’s lofty vaccine benchmark self imposed in April by the newly elected President.
“Our goal by July 4th is to have 70% of adult Americans with at least one shot and 160 million Americans fully vaccinated,” says President Biden.
Despite the missed mark, President Biden says the country is moving forward and out of COVID-19.
“The virus hasn’t been vanquished,” says President Biden. “We know this, it no longer controls our lives.”
157 million Americans are fully vaccinated. In South Carolina, 48% have started the process and just under 2 million are fully vaccinated. Health experts warn if more don’t receive their shot, variant cases could spread faster.
“Cases and clusters of outbreaks of COVID-19 regardless of the variant type are far more likely to occur in areas where vaccine rates are lower,” says Dr. Johnathan Knoche a Public Health Medical Consultant for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
“Health officials say new case numbers and hospitalization rates have remained low but fear if vaccine rates don’t come up, the vaccine won’t be as effective.
“What we don’t want to occur is having a gap widen between those who are vaccinated and more protected from COVID-19 and those who are not vaccinated,” says Knoche.
In the Lowcountry, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties, have just under half of all residents vaccinated. Charleston County leads the way with 62% of residents vaccinated. Leaders are looking at any way to get more shots into arms.
“Getting as many people vaccinated as possible is how we help protect those who can’t get vaccinated like children who are under the age of 12 and people who may be allergic to the vaccine,” says Knoche.
It’s a shot of optimism despite falling short, President Biden calling on Americans to get in line.
“The most patriotic thing you can do, so please if you haven’t gotten vaccinated, do it,” says President Biden. “Do it now.”
Comparing South Carolina to neighboring states, 48% of South Carolinians have started the vaccination process. 45% of North Carolina residents have received a dose while only 43% of Georgia residents have got a shot.