SC gubernatorial candidate suggests 3 ideas to increase vaccinations


Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham speaks to the media and supporters during his Election Night partyTuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Charleston, S.C. Cunningham is running for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — Former congressman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham says he has three ideas to increase vaccinations in South Carolina.

On Monday, Cunningham said Governor Henry McMaster “seems content” with the anticipated surge of COVID cases in the state and is “doing very little to stop it.”

South Carolina is “near dead last” in the nation in vaccines, Cunningham reports, “in large part because of the lack of leadership by our state leaders.”

Cunningham’s three ideas include:

  • Create a Vaccine Ambassador Program through DHEC that brings together the biggest non-political names in South Carolina to help promote the vaccine through participation in PSAs (TV and digital ads), hosting vaccine centers, and a statewide media blitz. Possible participants would include Coaches Shane Beamer, Dabo Swinney, Frank Martin and Dawn Staley, Entertainers Darius Rucker, Bill Murray, and Stephen Colbert, and athletes Khris Middleton, Dustin Johnson, and Stephon Gilmore. The ads would be funded through existing American Rescue Plan funds that have already been allocated to the state.
  • Deliver a primetime Oval Office-style address to the state about the importance of getting vaccinated. The address would be covered live by all networks and SCETV.
  • Develop a Vaccine Incentive Program through the Department of Commerce to partner with South Carolina businesses to donate goods and services to a statewide raffle for fully vaccinated people to enter to win prizes. Examples of these prizes could include: a 1-year lease of a BMW or Volvo automobile, vacation packages at coastal resorts, golf packages, tickets to USC and Clemson football games and minor league baseball games, and gift cards to restaurants across South Carolina.

The candidate said he is confident in private businesses in South Carolina to contribute to his proposed incentive program to help increase the number of vaccinated people in the state.

“Between the positive publicity they would receive from this program and the good they would be doing for our state, this is a slam dunk for any business in South Carolina,” Cunningham said.

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