State health officials, MUSC stress need for immunization, recognize teamwork in protecting public health

In addition to discussing the importance of immunizations, speakers will recognize the 2022...
In addition to discussing the importance of immunizations, speakers will recognize the 2022 Immunization Champion Award winners.(Live 5)
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 7:52 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2022 at 9:54 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Medical University of South Carolina and the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control will address the importance of vaccination at an event in Charleston Friday morning.

“Vaccinations help us lead safe, healthy, and happy lives by protecting people of all ages from common, yet serious diseases,” Outreach and Education Coordinator for DHEC’s Division of Immunization Beth Poore said. “With children going back to school across South Carolina, now is the perfect time to talk to your healthcare provider about which vaccines are right for you and your family.”

In addition to discussing the importance of immunizations, speakers will recognize the 2022 Immunization Champion Award winners.

The awards recognize individuals “who go above and beyond in ensuring immunization access in their communities.”

This year’s winners in South Carolina are:

2022 Leadership Award and National Immunization Champion:

Dr. Youlanda C. Gibbs, EdD

The Palmetto Palace

2022 Advocacy Award:

Allison Ross Eckard, MD

Medical University of South Carolina

2022 Innovation Award:

Beth Sundstrom, PhD, MPH

College of Charleston

2022 Partner of the Year Award:

Mary Beattie, RN

Cherokee County School District

2022 Community Collaboration Award:

Hanahan Fire and EMS

City of Hanahan Fire Department

South Carolina Immunization Coalition Organizing Director Alexandra Hayes said Friday’s event also celebrates the partnerships necessary to raise awareness and education on vaccines.

“SCIC achieves its success through partnerships, and it gives us great pleasure to see the number of partners that are involved today to honor our state’s immunization champions,” Hayes said. “The collaborative effort with the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) to recognize SC’s national impact on increasing vaccine confidence is demonstrated through our national champion award recipients like Dr. Gibbs, Kim Nelson (2019), and Dr. Eliza Varadi (2018).”

Speakers at the event include:

  • Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC director
  • Dr. Allison Ross Eckard, MUSC
  • Dr. Beth Sundstrom, SCIC
  • Alexandra Hayes, SCIC Organizing Director
  • Dr. Youlanda Gibbs, Palmetto Place Executive Director

Friday’s event begins at 10 a.m. and will be held at MUSC’s Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Women’s Pavilion and live streamed on DHEC’s Facebook page. Replays of the event will be available on the organization’s YouTube page.