FLORENCE, S.C. — Rep. Terry Alexander has a message for the African American community specifically and the Pee Dee community as a whole — get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is your turn.
"We need to get out and get these shots," Alexander said Friday after he was vaccinated at a DHEC vaccination clinic at the Florence Center.
"I think it is important all African Americans do this, particularly those in the vulnerable age populations. It helps. It makes a difference," Alexander said after he received his vaccine and waited out his 15-minute observation period.
"There's a lot of questions about the vaccine and what's in it. We do know that the virus kills. We do know that. This vaccine is preventing that from happening," he said. "The lack of trust (between African Americans and the medical community) is historical and I understand that, but this is serious. We see, we know what is happening. It's no fake thing."
"We put a lot of things in our body we don't know about. We know about this vaccine."
Alexander said he knows many people who had died from the virus and more who continued to suffer — including one friend who has been in the hospital 45 days so far.
"I have friends now still in the hospital. I talk to them one day and the next day they're in the hospital," Alexander said. "I may get it and it may affect me one way and you may get it and it may take you out. We have friends who get it and two days later they're gone."
So far in South Carolina 40,000 African Americans have been vaccinated while 200,000 white residents have been vaccinated, Alexander said.
That, he said, is an easy fix.
"I think the resources are not going to the right spot. If you make it available, African Americans will go get it. DHEC, bless them, were over in north Florence on Oakland Avenue. They need to do more than that. They need to go out to the black churches," Alexander said. "People could walk to that site if they needed to. Kinda hard to get out here (The Florence Center) if they don't have transportation."
The unpredictability of the virus is one of the driving factors behind the need to get the vaccine, he said.
"We don't know what the virus is going to do. That's why it's crucial we put it in our arm as soon as we can," Alexander said. "I'm praying we take this vaccine to the people and not the people to the vaccine."