County’s vaccination rate remains ‘stable’

Published 6:22 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2021

With the holiday season in full swing the Beaufort County Health Department is seeing a “stable” COVID-19 vaccination rate at its drive-thru clinics, with approximately 100 people starting their vaccination series per week, Health Director Jim Madson said Tuesday.

Approximately 51% of the county’s total population is completely vaccinated and 54.8% is partially vaccinated. Madson noted that the recent expansion of vaccine availability to additional age groups caused a rise in demand. As of Tuesday, 3% of Beaufort County residents ages 5-11 were partially vaccinated. As for the age group 12-17, 29% is partially vaccinated and 24.7% is fully vaccinated.

The health department is also one of many providers around the county offering booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. The department had been administering around 1,000 booster doses per week prior to last week. No booster doses were administered the week of Thanksgiving; Madson estimated that around 400 appointments for booster doses were scheduled for this week.

“The trend went from pretty robust demand for the first three or four weeks that the booster became available, to now we’re probably looking at half that number,” Madson said.

The health department administers booster shots on an appointment-only basis. Starting next week, the department’s drive-thru booster clinics will move from Beaufort County Community College to the Health Department.

In addition to COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses, the Health Department is also continuing to offer weekly flu vaccine clinics. No appointments are needed for those. In December, drive-thru flu vaccine clinics will be held at the Health Department from 12:30 – 4 p.m. on Dec. 1, 8 and 22.

“The cold weather brings people indoors where they stay longer together,” Madson said. “The possibility of transmission is going to be a little higher, just like it is with the flu during this time of year. With the flu and COVID, you need to be a little more attentive to your illness — if you’re ill, stay home, stay away from people and wash your hands frequently. Be cognizant of the fact that there is probably going to be a small increase due to the cold weather.”