MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Ivy League researchers say South Carolina is one of the most efficient states at giving the COVID-19 vaccine, but one of the worst in the number of people getting vaccinated.
The vaccine dashboard made by Brown University and Harvard University researchers say 80.6% of the coronavirus vaccine doses delivered to South Carolina have been put in people’s arms, which ranks the state as the 5th most efficient in administering the vaccine.
“I think South Carolina has been doing a very good job in broadening its vaccine access,” said Dr. Thomas Tsai, who’s an assistant professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Dr. Tsai says states like South Carolina have been better at giving vaccines because they don’t only rely on hospitals.
“A more locally driven strategy and the number of community sites has been the key factor for the higher rate of actually administered vaccines and not just the number of doses that have been delivered to the state,” said Dr. Tsai.
South Carolina is towards the bottom nationally in the number of people getting shots. The Palmetto State is 40th in people receiving their first vaccine (9.5% of the population) and 47th in fully vaccinated people (2.6% of population).
Dr. Linda Bell, who’s the leading epidemiologist for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), says the national shortage and logistical issues have prevented more people from getting vaccines.
“One bad storm or one delivery delay can lead to providers having to cancel clinics or reschedule appointments if we aren’t careful in how strategic we are,” Dr. Bell said during a media briefing Friday.
The researchers also say six states with smaller populations than South Carolina received more vaccines. Those states are Alabama, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Oregon.
Dr. Tsai says increasing availability and teamwork should reduce vaccine inequality.
“I don’t think we should pick winners and losers, in terms of the states from a vaccine distribution standpoint,” he said. “Let’s make sure that we work and engage with the states and states should have shared best practices.
The researchers also say South Carolina has the highest rate of new daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. Their COVID-19 risk level dashboard says the state is seeing 62 new daily cases per 100,000 people.
Following the national decline post-holiday season, South Carolina’s case rate has gone down by about 36% over the last three weeks.