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With 'gridlocked' shortage of COVID-19 vaccine, legislators call on Rice, Graham for help

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The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is one of two available in South Carolina.

HORRY COUNTY — Local legislators are pushing federal representatives to help South Carolina with its COVID-19 vaccine shortage, according to a statement Saturday from 16 area legislators.

Horry and Georgetown county legislators — Senators Greg Hembree, Luke Rankin and Kent Williams, and Representatives Lucas Atkinson, William Bailey, Case Brittain, Heather Ammons Crawford, Russell Fry, Kevin Hardee, Jackie Hayes, Jeffery Johnson, Tim McGinnis, all from Horry, and Senators Stephen Goldfinch and Ronnie Sabb and Representatives Carl Anderson and Lee Hewitt, all from Georgetown — signed a letter to U.S. Senators Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott and Congressman Tom Rice as the state struggles to receive vaccinations.

South Carolina hospitals were told Friday that an influx of vaccinations expected in the upcoming week would not be delivered.

“While we understand that the entire country is competing for the vaccines, South Carolina’s allocation of vaccine doses is only 28 doses per 1,000 by the CDC, while the overall country average is 46 doses per 1,000. This is not acceptable, and it will continue to cause our vaccine supply to be gridlocked," the letter reads.

“We are seeking your assistance in helping our communities and others statewide to receive more vaccine doses so that our medical professionals can vaccinate more South Carolinians more efficiently and effectively. The sooner we can receive more doses, the earlier our communities can begin to heal from this agonizing pandemic and our economy can bounce back quicker as well.”

As of Saturday morning, Horry County has 3,628 total probable COVID-19 cases, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The county has seen 291 deaths due to the virus, with 73 probable, DHEC reports. Total probably cases in Georgetown County as of Saturday have reached 1,256, with 71 reported deaths and 29 probable, according to DHEC.

Reach Hannah Strong at 843-277-4687. Follow her on Twitter @HannahLStrong.

Hannah Strong covers growth in Horry and Georgetown counties. She is a native of Pawleys Island and graduate of Winthrop University. In her free time, she likes to read, surf and cook.

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