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Plenty of vaccination appointments available

Beaufort County is inching closer to the vaccination rate Health Director Jim Madson believes will result in an ideal level of herd immunity.

As of Thursday, 16,143 Beaufort County residents had been at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19. Madson told the Daily News in March that he assumes 20% of the county’s population has contracted COVID-19, which means they have antibodies now. So if 50% of the county gets vaccinated, the area will achieve a “fairly comfortable level of herd immunity.”

The Beaufort County Health Department is working on expanding its outreach efforts to the youngest eligible age groups, hoping to dispel myths and convince those people to get vaccinated. The age group 18-24 currently accounts for just 2.4% of the partially vaccinated population in Beaufort County. The age group 25-49 accounts for 16.8% of that same population. The turnout in both age groups has slowly climbed over the past several weeks, but demand for the vaccine is still low.

“We have noticed a big drop in demand now for the vaccine,” Madson said Monday. “We saturated most of the people who were desperate to get it or really wanted to jump on it. And now we’re getting to the people who are kind of procrastinating to get to it or they’ll get to it eventually.”

Madson said the health department was administering approximately 200 vaccines per day when demand was high. The health department opened up 400 appointments for the first two weeks of April, and approximately 60 appointments per day were filled.

“There’s definitely more appointments available for anyone who wants it,” Madson said.

Individuals ages 16 and up are now eligible to be vaccinated statewide. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine approved for ages 16 and 17. Most of Beaufort County’s providers only administer the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Both of those versions are only approved for ages 18 and older. The health department says participating Walgreens locations and the large-scale vaccination site at the Greenville Convention Center provide Pfizer vaccines. A list of local vaccine providers can be found HERE

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