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Better late than never for second shot, two-state health experts say

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 12:53 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Some two-state residents are skipping their second COVID-19 shot, but South Carolina health officials say it’s never too late.

Even if you miss the deadline by months, go ahead and get your second shot late, state Department of Health and Environmental Control officials said this week during a briefing on the pandemic.

The demand for vaccinations has declined in recent weeks, and South Carolina health officials say they’ve scaled back their orders to match demand. They tend to still have some extra doses available.

Women are getting vaccinated at a much higher rate than men in South Carolina, so DHEC is talking about finding ways to encourage men to get their shots.

The agency is also pushing for more young people to get vaccinated, because more COVID-19 cases are showing up in this population. Young people can even be susceptible to so-called long-hauler symptoms.

The virus is also taking a mental toll on young people in the CSRA.

Dr. Jeremy Hertza from Neuro-Behavioral Associates says the practice is seeing more younger patients than ever.

That’s adding to the need for counseling in the Augusta area, which Hertza says is now at its highest point yet.

“COVID has essentially eliminated for a lot of people their traditional coping skills. Where before you may have hung out with your friends to feel better, or maybe you go to the gym, a lot of that stuff has been limited,” Hertza said.

He wanted people to know that even though services are busy, that should never stop you from reaching out for help.

In South Carolina, health officials are asking people who’ve been vaccinated to speak out to loved ones to spread the word. They’ve even created this website to help with the effort: https://www.stayscstrong.com/social-media-toolkits/vaccine-toolkit.

Also in the news …

  • In the fight against COVID-19, Pfizer says it’s working on a potentially huge new development: an at-home pill to treat coronavirus. It would be used at the first sign of illness. It’s still going through trials now, but Pfizer’s CEO hopes it could be available by the end of the year.
  • University Hospital in Augusta has 24 COVID-19 inpatients as of Thursday. That’s up from 21 Monday, but far down from 107 on Jan. 29 during the last big peak in virus cases locally.

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