LOW VACCINATION RATE: Columbia mayor hosts roundtable with government officials to encourage more to get shots

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — 41st in the nation.

That’s where the Palmetto State ranks nationwide for fully vaccination residents according to Becker Hospital Review data.

Monday, US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge paid a stop to the Soda City. It was part of the Biden administration’s five city tour of the country to encourage more people to roll up their sleeves. A roundtable at Segra Park was hosted by Mayor Steve Benjamin.

“On Friday, DHEC reported a total of 6,697 new covid cases,” Benjamin said. “For [last] week, 31,458 cases. Friday’s total was the 3rd highest single day total since the start of the pandemic.”

DHEC reported more than 3,700 cases on Monday.

“We are in a place where if we do not start to convince people to take care of their health, I don’t know if we can come back,” said Secretary Fudge. “I’m not just talking about the need for vaccination. I’m talking to all of us, but especially black people. I don’t want to hear about Tuskegee.”

Besides distrust in the black community concerning healthcare, Representative Jim Clyburn points to the amount of misinformation going around the whole country.

He says it makes politicians and healthcare workers jobs harder and the current pandemic much worse than the Spanish flu of 1918.

“Here we are with all the enlightenment of the last 100 years and we have people questioning science,” Rep. Clyburn said.

Part of the disagreement here in South Carolina concerns the mask mandate. The Palmetto State is one of five Republican-led states that is facing a federal investigation concerning their ban on mask mandates in schools.

In addition to no mask mandates in schools, Secretary Fudge blames the state’s low vaccination rate for the spread of COVID since the start of school.

“Children are dying today because we refuse to get vaccinated,” she said. “I don’t know what else I can tell you except that if we continue down this path, we’re going to be in more trouble than we ever thought we would be.”

The roundtable group continued their tour at a local barbershop where vaccinations have been offered.

Yet even with all the push to get a shot, South Carolina’s fully vaccinated percentage still remains below 50 percent.

“We are not going to get beyond it if we do not adhere to science,” Clyburn said. “It’s that simple.”

Currently, DHEC reports that 57 percent of the state has at least one vaccine shot.

You can find out where you can get vaccinated here.

Categories: Local News, Richland