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COVID-19 roundup: CDC awards South Carolina $47M to expand vaccination program

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 1:46 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - Despite being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, dozens of South Carolinians have tested positive for the virus.

According to information from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, 141 vaccine “breakthrough cases” have been identified in S.C. as of April 5.

A breakthrough case is defined as a resident testing positive for COVID-19 more than 14 days after completing the primary series of a Food and Drug Administration-authorized vaccine, in the absence of a positive coronavirus test in the 45 days prior to the current positive test, according to DHEC and the S.C. Health Alert Network.

As of April 5, over 2.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in South Carolina, according to DHEC.

State health officials said that, despite high COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, symptomatic vaccine breakthrough cases will occur even if the vaccine is working as expected. Many additional asymptomatic infections among people who were vaccinated will also occur, according to DHEC.

“Therefore, it’s not unexpected to see these types of cases being reported, and more vaccine breakthrough cases should be anticipated as more people get vaccinated,” information from DHEC stated.

DHEC officials stress that breakthrough cases have been reported in less than 0.5% of the number of people across the state who have completed their vaccine series.

South Carolina gets CDC money to expand vaccinations

CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded South Carolina $47.19 million to support local efforts to increase vaccine uptake.

CDC officials say they hope the award will expand COVID-19 vaccine programs and ensure greater equity and access to vaccines by those disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The award is part of $3 billion in funding that the CDC says they have granted to 64 jurisdictions to bolster broad-based vaccine distribution, access, and administration efforts.

The funding was made available by the American Rescue Plan and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the CDC says it will provide critical support through existing immunization cooperative agreements in communities around the country.

To ensure health equity and expanded access to COVID-19 vaccines the CDC says 75% of the total funding must focus on specific programs and initiatives intended to increase vaccine access, acceptance, and uptake among racial and ethnic minority communities.

Additionally they say 60% must go to support local health departments, community-based organizations, and community health centers.

4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Peach State

ATLANTA - The Peach State has reached a new milestone with the COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Saturday, over four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Georgia, according to Gov. Brian Kemp’s office.

On March 19, 3 million vaccines were administered in Georgia. In 15 days, Kemp said in a news release, a million more doses were administered in Georgia to reach this new milestone.

“We continue to make steady progress in our vaccine administration here in Georgia,” said Kemp. “The life-saving COVID-19 vaccine is our key back to normal, and with all Georgians ages 16 and over now eligible to receive the shot, we are well on our way as we head into spring and summer. I continue to ask all Georgians to follow best practices, public health guidance, and most importantly, schedule their vaccine appointment with a local provider or at one of our state-operated sites using MyVaccineGeorgia.com.

Vaccine eligibility in Georgia is open to everyone 16 and over. Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine currently approved for children 16 and older.

Meanwhile, more than 1.3 million people in South Carolina have received at least the first dose. That means just over one-third of people in the state have gotten a first dose and about 19 percent of the state is completely vaccinated.

Although COVID-19 cases have trended downward in the past several weeks and University Hospital has stayed under 20 coronavirus inpatients for about the past month, the hospital saw a small bump this week. As of today, the hospital has 16 COVID-19 inpatients, compared to 10 on Monday, Spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester says in the past 24 hours, the hospital discharged one COVID-19 patient and admitted seven.

Investigators are looking into a growing trend of COVID-19 vaccine card fraud. Federal authorities say some people are buying fake cards online to spoof vaccinations. Right now, there’s no federal system to authenticate the vaccination cards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And experts say that makes it easy for people to fake them.

President Joe Biden is bumping up his deadline for states to make all adults in the U.S. eligible for coronavirus vaccines. With states gradually expanding eligibility beyond such priority groups as older people and essential, front-line workers, the president will announce that every adult will be eligible by April 19 to sign up and get in a virtual line to be vaccinated, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. That’s about two weeks earlier than Biden’s previously announced May 1 deadline.

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