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SC health leaders urge young people to get vaccine

The state, like much of the rest of the country, has increased the pace of vaccination.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina health leaders say they're working to convince young people and minorities who may have vaccine hesitancy to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

RELATED: How to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina

As of the latest data Wednesday, 20 percent of South Carolinians aged 15 and up have been fully vaccinated, or 819,487 in total numbers. That's a new milestone meaning one out of five people who are eligible to get the vaccine have done so. About 1.414 million have gotten at least one shot. That's about 34.5% of those over 15. 

While DHEC praised the rollout, they said they want to see more young people and those with vaccine hesitancy, including in the Black community, take the vaccine. They planned to work with schools and universities to get the word out to young people and are working with community partners in the Black community. 

Dr. Brannon Traxler with DHEC said while there are some side effects after taking the vaccine, including a low-grade fever and soreness, they don't outweigh the benefits. "It's a small price to pay to prevent COVID-19," she said. 

It was just a week ago the vaccine was opened up to all South Carolinians. Previously, there had been restrictions on who could get the shot based on age, medical conditions, or fields of work.

RELATED: What you should (and shouldn't) do with your vaccination card

Nationally, President Joe Biden said this week that the vaccine will be opened up to anyone over 16 starting on April 19, which was a bump up from the previously announced date of May 1.

RELATED: Biden moves COVID-19 vaccine eligibility date to April 19

To be considered fully vaccinated, a person must have two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The J&J does just got clearance from federal regulators last month, so it has not been as available. Just 60,000 does have been administered in South Carolina so far, but supply of that shot is expected to ramp up soon. 

DHEC Vaccine Locator 

  • Find DHEC’s online map at scdhec.gov/vaxlocator. This online map shows the locations currently accepting appointments (many of the same ones listed below) for COVID-19 vaccine and the map will provide the contact information for scheduling appointments at those locations. The map itself is not a way to schedule an appointment.
  • DHEC has a COVID-19 vaccine information line at 1-866-365-8110 The service is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week People who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines or who need help finding vaccine providers and their contact information are asked to call the DHEC COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line.
  • You can also schedule an appointment directly through DHEC's website at CVAS.DHEC.SC.GOV. Appointment availability through this scheduling tool is limited to start, but is expected to grow in the coming days.
  • You will be asked to provide a driver’s license or other form of ID at your appointment that confirms your age in order to receive vaccine.
  • South Carolina residency is not a requirement to receive a vaccine.