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South Carolina has a COVID-19 vaccine supply problem

Dr. Brannon Traxler of SCDHEC said there is a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine and there is nothing on the horizon to meet increased demand anytime soon.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — South Carolina health officials expect no increase in the number of vaccines the state is receiving each week anytime soon, they announced during a news briefing Monday afternoon to discuss the state's response to COVID-19 and its vaccine rollout efforts.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention South Carolina is receiving the lowest amount of doses per capita in the nation. For every 100,000 people, South Carolina received approximately 6,800 doses, according to the CDC.

"While DHEC continues to request the most doses possible each week from the federal government, currently 100% of COVID-19 vaccines available in our state have either been given or are scheduled to be given," said Dr. Brannon Taxler of SCDHEC.

Traxler said state health officials spent the weekend and Monday on the phone with representatives from Operation Warp Speed and the CDC to try to receive an explanation for the low amount of vaccine provided. Traxler said clear answers were not immediately available Monday.

While health officials pointed to a lack of supply from the federal government, Gov. Henry McMaster placed some of the blame for the delay in vaccinations on the hospitals themselves.

"If you don’t have the staff then say so and we’ll find the staff," McMaster said Monday while touring vaccination efforts at hospitals across the state. "It’s going too slow. We’ve got to speed it up, we know how to speed it up and we will speed it up."

Just last week, the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) released a statement about receiving fewer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine than requested, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said there aren't enough vaccines to go around.  

There is a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine and there is nothing on the horizon to meet increased demand anytime soon, Traxler said. 

"The reality is we are only getting the same amount that we’ve been getting weekly since vaccine rollout began we have not been told to expect anything differently for the foreseeable future," she said.

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According to DHEC, some hospitals and vaccine providers have requested four to five times more doses than before because of high demand. 

DHEC said the state can't fulfill the providers' request for increased vaccine allocations because there is not enough vaccine available from the federal government. 

South Carolina is slated to receive roughly 31,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

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This article contains information contributed from WLTX.

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