Horry, Georgetown legislators seek federal help resolving state’s COVID vaccine shortage

SC’s vaccine allocation 61% below national average

CONWAY – State legislators representing Horry and Georgetown counties Friday pushed federal representatives to help South Carolina get its fair share of COVID vaccine, citing Center for Disease Control numbers showing the state is getting 61 percent less vaccine than the national average.

Sixteen legislators from the Horry and Georgetown County legislative delegations signed identical letters to U.S. Senators Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott and Congressman Tom Rice that said, “While we understand that the entire country is competing for the vaccines, South Carolina’s allocation of vaccine doses is only 28 doses per 1,000 by the CDC, while the overall country average is 46 doses per 1,000. This is not acceptable, and it will continue to cause our vaccine supply to be gridlocked.”

Click here for the letters.

Legislators point out the new record high COVID cases and positivity rates for the state, stating, “we anticipate those numbers to continue to rise and we are very concerned for our constituents.”

“We are seeking your assistance in helping our communities and others statewide to receive more vaccine doses so that our medical professionals can vaccinate more South Carolinians more efficiently and effectively,” the legislators said. “The sooner we can receive more doses, the earlier our communities can begin to heal from this agonizing pandemic and our economy can bounce back quicker as well.”

On Thursday, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation issued a joint order expanding the number of medical professionals who may administer COVID-19 vaccine to include retired nurses and medical students with appropriate training.

“While we applaud this major effort, South Carolina is simply not receiving enough vaccine doses to make this a reality,” the legislators wrote. “We have spoken with many of our local hospitals and health care workers who are more than ready and prepared to administer more vaccines, but they simply do not have it.”

Horry County legislators who signed the letter are Senators Greg Hembree, Luke Rankin and Kent Williams, and Representatives Lucas Atkinson, William Bailey, Case Brittain, Heather Ammons Crawford, Russell Fry, Kevin Hardee, Jackie Hayes, Jeffery Johnson, and Tim McGinnis.

Georgetown County signers are Senators Stephen Goldfinch and Ronnie Sabb and Representatives Carl Anderson and Lee Hewitt.