Beaufort mayor hoping to see increase in vaccine distribution to at-risk populations

Beaufort mayor hoping to see increase in vaccine distribution to at-risk populations

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - After thousands of COVID-19 vaccination appointments were canceled in the last week, the mayor of Beaufort says he’s hoping one organization will step up and come up with a plan that can help everyone get vaccinated sooner.

“I mean, I’m frustrated. I share the frustration,” Beaufort Mayor Stephen Murray said.

Murray would like to see more vaccinations coming to the at-risk populations of the city. This week, he put together a letter to send to DHEC explaining what methods he believes they should be using in their vaccine distribution

“I asked that they prioritize elderly populations, rural communities, and minority populations. Thinking that that would give Beaufort County and the city of Beaufort a bit of a priority as more vaccines come in,” Murray said.

Right now, the mayor is concerned with the current organizational status.

“Per a conference call last Tuesday with DHEC leadership, they do not have a methodology for distribution of vaccines. Once they receive them from the federal government. So, I have concerns that it will be a political process. Or it will be a disorganized process, where maybe other areas of the state are prioritized. Not on metric. Not on metric right, not on at risk populations or population centers, but on maybe political preference,” Murray said.

To avoid that he has asked they put in solid metrics that define what qualifications an area needs to meet to get vaccines. He’s hoping this will prioritize Beaufort.

“And so, I think it is clear for DHEC right now to put in a methodology that prioritizes at risk populations and they communicate that methodology to local governments and their partners around the state,” Murray said.

He says the city has partnered well with other local organizations and Beaufort County. He says he is impressed with how local hospitals have handled vaccine distribution despite multiple challenges.

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