SC governor rebuffs door-to-door vaccine help proposal

South Carolina News

FILE – In this June 24, 2021, file photo, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaks during a ceremony to sign a bill preventing people from suing businesses over COVID-19 on Thursday, at Cafe Strudel in West Columbia, S.C. McMaster is one of several Republican state leaders opposing federal efforts to go door-to-door to urge people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says he doesn’t want the federal government sending people door-to-door to convince residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

McMaster asked the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Friday to ban state and local health care groups from using door-to-door tactics suggested by President Joe Biden earlier this week.

DHEC replied, saying vaccine outreach efforts “have not and will not include” door-to-door visits. The department offers in-home vaccines to homebound individuals but only if a request is made at 866-365-8110.

The Republican governor’s opposition to the vaccine canvassing follows pushback in Arizona and Missouri.

“A South Carolinian’s decision to get vaccinated is a personal one for them to make and not the government’s,” McMaster wrote. “Enticing, coercing, intimidating, mandating, or pressuring anyone to take the vaccine is a bad policy which will deteriorate the public’s trust and confidence in the state’s vaccination efforts.”

The White House’s coronavirus response coordinator has previously said the best people to talk about vaccinations are local doctors and faith and community leaders, who may go door to door.

About 43% of South Carolinians have been fully vaccinated so far.

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