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In push to get shots into 70% of adults, VP Kamala Harris visits South Carolina vaccine sites

Joseph Bustos, The State (Columbia, S.C.) on

Published in News & Features

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Vice President Kamala Harris came to Greenville on Monday to kick off a multistate tour as part the Biden administration's push to get 70% of adults in the U.S. with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose by July 4.

As of Monday only 46.3% of South Carolina's residents have received at least one dose, and just 39.5% of South Carolinians are fully vaccinated — one of the lowest rates in the country.

The vice president's visit to the Palmetto State comes as vaccination rates have slowed down nationwide. A total of 64% of American adults have had at least one dose.

Harris first visited the Phillis Wheatley Community Center COVID vaccination mobilization event and then went to a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine site at the YMCA of Greenville.

"The vaccines are safe and they are free and they are effective and it's that simple," Harris said during her first stop to the crowd of about 170 volunteers who are canvasing neighborhoods to help people get vaccinated. "If you are vaccinated, you are protected. If your community is vaccinated, COVID rates in your community will go down."

During Harris' remarks, she gave kudos to companies such as Dollar General, Best Buy and Starbucks for offering paid time off for people to get a vaccine, Uber and Lyft for offering free rides to vaccine clinics, and organizations such as the YMCA for offering free child care while people are getting a shot.

 

Harris' message to encourage people to get past vaccine hesitancy included that the vaccines have been developed during decades of research into the coronavirus to counter the message that they have been rushed to market.

"There's a number of people who haven't said they're not going to get it, but haven't made the decision to get it," Harris said during her stop at the YMCA in Greenville.

South Carolina also lags in vaccinating Black residents, a population disproportionately hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Fifty percent of deaths from COVID is among Blacks," said J.M. Flemming, NAACP Greenville president. We only make up 27% of the population. The outbreaks are here, COVID is here."

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