The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said it is important for all students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as quick as possible before the upcoming school year. 

As of now, only the two-dose Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people 12 and older. Those who receive the first dose must wait at least three weeks to get the second one. 

“It takes about five weeks to achieve full vaccination, so students who are eligible for the vaccine don’t have a lot of time to spare if they want to protect themselves and their friends during the upcoming school year,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, public health director at DHEC. 

Fully vaccinated students will not have to miss school or extracurricular activities if they are identified as a close contact to someone who has COVID-19. But unvaccinated students would need to quarantine and refrain from such activities, DHEC said in a news release. 

The agency will develop guidance for South Carolina schools once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes its updated operations guidance for the 2021-22 academic year within the next few weeks.

“In the meantime, we cannot stress how important it is for everyone eligible to get vaccinated before the new school year commences,” Traxler said. “Parents, teachers, and students deserve the right to attend or visit school without worrying about getting sick.”


Statewide numbers

New cases reported: 55 confirmed, 40 probable.

Total cases in S.C.: 493,069 confirmed, 103,643 probable.

Percent positive: 1.7 percent.

New deaths reported: 3 confirmed, 0 probable.      

Total deaths in S.C.: 8,637 confirmed, 1,180 probable. 

Percent of ICU beds filled: 65.3 percent.

S.C. residents vaccinated
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DHEC’s vaccine dashboard shows that 48.3 percent of the state’s residents have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Hardest-hit areas

In the total number of newly confirmed cases, Anderson (3), Charleston County (4), Dorchester (3), Greenville (8), Horry County (4), Richland (3) and York County (4) saw the highest totals. 

What about tri-county?

Charleston County had 4 new cases on June 29, while Berkeley County had none and Dorchester County had 3.

Deaths

One of the deaths from COVID-19 confirmed June 29 were people 35 to 64. Two were patients age 65 or older. 


Hospitalizations

Of the 124 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of June 30, 37 were in the ICU and 16 were using ventilators.

What do experts say?

Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been all deemed safe and effected by the CDC.

The Pfizer vaccine is available to anyone 12 and older and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots are available to those 18 and up.

Folks who opt for the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccines should get the second dose as close to the recommended three-week and four-week intervals, respectively. But the second shot may be given up to six weeks after the first dose, if necessary, according to the CDC.


Follow Shamira McCray on Twitter @ShamiraTweets.


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