Senator Setzler’s Statement on SCDHEC Vaccine Distribution
State Senator Nikki Setzler (D-Lexington) released the following statement regarding vaccine distribution rates in South Carolina:
West Columbia, SC - “For the Interim Public Health Director of DHEC to tell the people of South Carolina to remain patient while their loved ones and neighbors are dying is simply not acceptable. The citizens of South Carolina have been patient for ten months while DHEC took substantial time before having a testing program at appropriate levels, no meaningful contract tracing program ever in place, no permanent director for at least six months during a worldwide pandemic, and now apparently no definite plan with logistics finalized in place to get our citizens vaccinate— only one in the process of being developed. At a time when uncertainty underscores our daily lives, it is deeply troubling to hear the State Agency leading the fight against this virus to request for citizens to be patient. This battle is urgent, and we need an urgent response— the response provided by DHEC regarding the distribution of vaccines implies that they are acting in the opposite manner. The question isn’t just where the vaccines are, but why didn’t DHEC formally authorize the hospitals of this state to vaccinate people in group 1A other than the hospitals own employees until January 1st so they could get to the citizens in group 1B and group 1C faster... citizens can’t be vaccinated until DHEC authorizes it. Every person that is vaccinated should reduce infections, hospitalizations and save lives. We need decisive action in order to save lives, and reassurance that every avenue to vaccinating the public as quickly as possible is being pursued.
“The death toll caused by COVID-19 is astronomical, and the number of positive cases is rising each day to levels that are beyond what anyone expected. This is an emergency unlike any of us have seen in our lifetimes. The citizens of South Carolina need and deserve transparent, efficient, safe, expertly coordinated plans and processes to get every South Carolinian a COVID-19 vaccine as fast as we can. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of DHEC and if DHEC gives the citizens this type of plan and process, they will support it.”