South Carolina may order hospitals to halt elective surgeries if vaccinations don't speed up

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he will order hospitals to halt elective surgeries if COVID-19 vaccination rates don't speed up in the state, according to local news station WIS.

The announcement came as Mr. McMaster toured West Columbia, S.C-based Lexington Medical Center's vaccination clinic Jan. 19. 

The governor is asking each hospital to be at a 90 percent vaccine utilization rate. About 16 hospitals in the state were below that rate as of Jan. 19.

The governor said that if hospitals don't speed up the vaccine administration process, he will ask or require them to cancel elective procedures to ensure there is enough staff for vaccinations. 

Additionally, Mr. McMaster said each hospital should administer their entire weekly COVID-19 vaccine allotment prior to receiving the next week's shipment.

"The hospital shelves must be empty," Mr. McMaster said, according to WIS. "When that new shipment comes in, the old shipment ought to be in somebody's arm."


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