More than 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given in South Carolina. The state reached the milestone this week as all residents age 16 and older became eligible for the shot.
Although vaccine doses remain limited, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said the Palmetto State and others are seeing an uptick in the number of doses received from the federal government.
As of April 1, 31.4 percent of South Carolinians have received at least one COVID-19 shot, and 17.1 percent are considered fully vaccinated, DHEC said in a news release.
"Our message, loud and clear, is 'don't wait — vaccinate,' " said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC's interim public health director. "While you may not be able to get your shot right away, we urge everyone to continue searching for an appointment."
Providers are working to open appointments quickly based on inventory, Traxler said. Appointment availability varies each week.
Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC's director, said reaching the 2 million mark is a giant step toward ending the pandemic in South Carolina. He said the agency is grateful to local leaders, providers and community partners for their efforts to get shots into arms as quickly as possible.
"Now we need to continue this great effort until every South Carolinian has had an opportunity to receive the vaccine," Simmer said.
Until herd immunity is achieved, DHEC advises people to continue to wear masks and physically distance.
New cases reported: 510 confirmed, 435 probable.
Total cases in S.C.: 465,650 confirmed, 87,031 probable.
Percent positive: 5.7 percent.
New deaths reported: 14 confirmed, 14 probable.
Total deaths in S.C.: 8,087 confirmed, 1,087 probable.
Percent of ICU beds filled: 69.1 percent.
How does S.C. rank in vaccines administered per 100,000 people?
41st as of March 31, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the total number of newly confirmed cases, Greenville County (84), Charleston County (60) and York County (47) saw the highest totals.
What about the tri-county?
Charleston County had 60 new cases on April 1, while Berkeley had 31 and Dorchester had 12.
Five of the new confirmed deaths reported were people age 35 to 64, and the remainder were patients age 65 and older.
Of the 502 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of April 1, 121 were in the ICU and 48 were using ventilators.
What do experts say?
All South Carolinians age 16 and older can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Those who are interested in scheduling an appointment can call 866-365-8110 or go to scdhec.gov/vaxlocator to find a vaccine location.
No vaccine is authorized yet for minors 15 and under. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one allowed for children ages 16 and 17. All others are authorized for people 18 and older.