Updated Jul 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

South Carolina governor rejects Biden's door-to-door vaccine advocacy plan

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaking in November 2020.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaking in November 2020. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) on Thursday rejected the Biden administration's plan to send people door to door to urge residents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: McMaster called on the state's board of health to issue a directive to prevent state and local healthcare organizations from knocking on people's doors to promote the vaccines.

What they're saying: “A South Carolinian’s decision to get vaccinated is a personal one for them to make and not the government’s,” McMaster said in a statement on Thursday.

  • “Enticing, coercing, intimidating, mandating, or pressuring anyone to take the vaccine is a bad policy which will deteriorate the public’s trust and confidence in the State’s vaccination efforts."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said, "The failure to provide accurate public health information, including the efficacy of vaccines and the accessibility of them to people across the country — including South Carolina — is literally killing people. So maybe they should consider that."

  • The White House on Thursday had pushed back against Republican concerns with the door-to-door plan, saying conservatives are mischaracterizing the plan.
  • "I would say, for those individuals, organizations that are feeding misinformation and trying to mischaracterize this type of 'trusted messenger' work, I believe you are doing a disservice to the country and to the doctors, the faith leaders, community leaders and others who are working to get people vaccinated, save lives, and help end this pandemic," Biden's COVID coordinator, Jeff Zients, said, per ABC News.
  • Zients added that any door-to-door efforts would be led by local communities.

By the numbers: About 43% of people in South Carolina are fully vaccinated, putting it in the lower half of states ranked by vaccination rate, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Mayo Clinic's vaccine tracker.

Go deeper: Trump country continues to fall behind on COVID-19 vaccinations

Editor's note: This story has been updated with Psaki's comments.

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