VACCINE HESITANCY: Why are the numbers so low in Midlands counties?
SUMTER, SC (WOLO) — In Richland County, the vaccination rate is slightly above the state average.
However, in a few counties in the Midlands, the rates are well below that average.
Today we simply asked residents: Have you been vaccinated?
“If you start asking that question, you’re in trouble,” said Sumter resident Joseph Johnson. “They say ‘Why are you worried about me getting vaccinated?’”
He’s worried because only 34 percent of Sumter County residents are fully vaccinated.
“I’m fully vaccinated” Johnson said. “To not be vaccinated is taking a chance on your life and everybody else’s life.”
This week in Sumter County, the number of fully vaccinated people went up by 470.
Over in Lee County, only 35 percent of residents have received both COVID vaccine shots.
One of those is Bishopville resident Kim Williams.
“I have an elderly mother and others in my family. A baby in my family,” Williams said. “Basically for the protection of them as much as anything.”
She says she has a family member who is not vaccinated and respects that decision.
“I feel like it’s just hesitancy of the unknown because it came about very quickly, Williams said. “I don’t know if the confidence in the community is where it should be.”
However, there is vaccine available for the rural county of fewer than 20,000 people.
“But I don’t feel like it’s a problem if you’re ready to get vaccinated,” Williams said.
CVS, Care South and the county health department are offering shots to Lee County residents, but some are still hesitant.
“I’m sort of afraid,” said Bernice Boykin. “I don’t know. Maybe I will. I’ll get it sooner or later, but right now there’s too much going on.”
Her mother says she understands her decision either way.
“Everybody out there that does not have the shot, whatever y’all do, let it be on yourself, not on anybody telling you what to do. Do it for yourself,” said Welma Martha Joe.
This week, the number of fully vaccinated in Lee County only went up by 45 people.
Over in Sumter County, there are even more options to get the vaccine than in Lee. Several chain and local pharmacies offer shots as well as an urgent care center and the county health department.