S.C. Sen. Luke Rankin has had enough of the state’s handling of the coronavirus vaccination efforts and I’m glad to see him encouraging Gov. Henry McMaster to do better.
“No one will say the vaccine rollout in South Carolina has gone well,” Rankin noted in a recent e-mail to constituents. “I understand it has been an unprecedented effort to vaccinate so many in such a short period of time. DHEC employees and healthcare professionals have been working hard. Nevertheless, we can do better than this. We must do better. Too much red tape in government is never a good thing especially when lives are at stake.”
I couldn’t agree more. Life will not approach the old normal until a larger percentage of the populations gets innoculated against the deadly virus.
According to the senator, South Carolina had received about 632,000 doses of the vaccine as of Monday but had only administered 281,277.
Doing the math, that means about 350,000 doses are waiting to go in the arms of citizens in South Carolina.
Rankin offered several excellent ideas to expedite the innoculation process.
For example, Rankin said he is joining his Senate colleagues in calling for National Guard assistance with deployment.
“Logistics is what they are trained to do. There expertise will no doubt help increase vaccinations rates and save lives,” wrote Rankin.
He is also urging the Governor to open vaccine eligibility to all of those 65 and over, whether they are currently hospitalized or not.
I never quite understood why Gov. McMaster chose to make 70 the age for vaccine eligibility when the Centers for Disease Control recommended giving the vaccine to those 65 and above.
“We should join the 25 other states across our nation to increase eligibility to the 65 and over group. They are at the highest risk for long-term or fatal repercussions from this virus,” opined Rankin.
In addition to these proposals, Rankin suggests making it easier to set up an appointment to receive the vaccination. He thinks making the online reservation process easier would be helpful and I second that opinion. There are a lot of older South Carolinians, like my 92-year-old mother, who aren’t comfortable using a computer.
Last, but certainly not least, Rankin calls for the state to provide additional funding for the state’s vaccination efforts. He would like to see $208 million in the state’s contingency fund used to speed up vaccinations.
To Rankin’s list I would add the following:
Move teachers higher up on the list to be vaccinated. Public schools have been out of session far too long. If society is going to get back on a more normal schedule, then it seems only fair to innoculate those responsible for educating our children.
Get the private sector more involved in the vaccination process. There are thousands of drug stores in South Carolina that could take the burden of innoculating the population off of hospitals.
Protecting Americans from COVID-19 is the most important thing government can do. I’m glad Rankin shares a similar view.
This is the opinion of Steve Robertson and does not necessarily reflect the views of My Horry News.