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South Carolina near the bottom of the pack with low statewide vaccination rates

Only 40% of South Carolina residents are fully vaccinated. Now, there's a new proposal to help increase that.

SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — South Carolina leaders want to rise from the bottom of the nationwide vaccination rates by encouraging even more people to get informed and get the COVID-19 shot.

Across the country, the goal is to have at least 75% of people vaccinated, but the latest data shows the Palmetto State has only about 40% of residents vaccinated.

South Carolina candidate for governor Joe Cunningham believes taking more vaccination action now will pay off later.

“I want to go to football games in the fall, I want my kid to be in school in the fall, but the fact is all those things are threatened and come under fire if we don’t push people to get the vaccination and make sure they’re properly educated," Cunningham said.

He suggests Governor Henry McMaster host an oval-office-style address to emphasize the importance of getting the vaccine. Doctors say it's worth it to help avoid those long-term effects from COVID-19.

“Their lungs continue to be affected, their brains continue to be affected, their hearts continue to be affected and that’s just a level of devastation that I don’t think we want to allow ourselves to experience," Dr. Damon Francis said.

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Another proposal from Cunningham is a vaccine ambassador program through SCDHEC that brings together some of the top non-political names across the state to promote vaccines in various PSAs.

“People are tired of hearing politicians talk about this and I think folks are wanting to get confirmation and reassurance from other people," Cunningham said.

The final proposal is a statewide lottery with the help of the Department of Commerce partnering up with South Carolina businesses to donate their goods and services and only those who are vaccinated would be eligible to win.

Governor McMaster has not yet shared any new plans his office has to help increase the state's vaccination rate.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.