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Vaccination rate lower in rural counties in the Lowcountry

The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only COVID vaccine that is authorized for those age 16 and...
The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only COVID vaccine that is authorized for those age 16 and older. The FDA may be close to authorizing that same vaccine for use in adolescents.(Pexels)
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 5:02 PM EDT
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JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Lowcountry doctors are warning people who have not gotten the vaccine yet to take those around you into account.

They say one area of the Lowcountry could be more at risk if people don’t get vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available across the Lowcountry. But doctors say they are still seeing cases coming in from more rural areas of Jasper and Hampton counties.

“Now, we’re not seeing nearly as much but the numbers we are seeing haven’t been vaccinated.”

Since the vaccine became available in December, doctors have noticed one slightly alarming trend: higher percentages of people are getting vaccinated in more populated areas, while smaller towns and counties are not getting the same attention.

34% of people living in South Carolina have completed their vaccination. In Beaufort County that number is as high as 42% of the population with at least one vaccine.

But in Hampton County that number dips to 35 percent, and in Jasper County falls even lower to just 26 percent.

Doctors say people in these rural areas need the vaccine, because those are the regions that see higher levels of chronic illness.

“There’s a lot of folks in some of the more rural counties that have a lot of chronic diseases. Heart disease, hypertension, all these things that put you at risk for severe Covid, not just a mild case. But they kind of put you in the hospital,” Coastal Carolina Dr. Carrie Christianson said.

Doctors say they believe this trend may be due to a lack of access and a lack of trust.

“You know, we know it’s a safe vaccine. It seems it was developed awfully quickly but they did not have to reinvent the wheel. It’s based on old science and so far, it’s been used in millions of people and it’s been proven to be very safe,” Dr. Christianson said.

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