July 26, 2021

Plan includes Vaccine Ambassador Program, Oval Office-Style Address, & a Vaccine Incentive Program

As COVID cases continue to rise, former Congressman Joe Cunningham proposed three ideas for Governor McMaster to increase vaccinations in South Carolina. 


”We are on the verge of another major wave of COVID cases in South Carolina and Governor McMaster seems content with doing very little to stop it,” said Cunningham. “The solution is getting more people vaccinated and we should be exploring every option at our disposal to accomplish that goal. Our state remains near dead last in the country in vaccines and that is in large part because of the lack of leadership by our state leaders - namely Governor McMaster. I hope the governor will put the lives of his constituents ahead of his own political life and start showing the leadership our people desperately need.”

Cunningham's 3 ideas include:


Create a Vaccine Ambassador Program through DHEC that brings together the biggest non-political names in South Carolina to help promote the vaccine through participation in PSAs (TV and digital ads), hosting vaccine centers, and a statewide media blitz. Possible participants would include Coaches Shane Beamer, Dabo Swinney, Frank Martin and Dawn Staley, Entertainers Darius Rucker, Bill Murray, and Stephen Colbert, and athletes Khris Middleton, Dustin Johnson, and Stephon Gilmore. The ads would be funded through existing American Rescue Plan funds that have already been allocated to the state.


Deliver a primetime Oval Office-style address to the state about the importance of getting vaccinated. The address would be covered live by all networks and SCETV.


Develop a Vaccine Incentive Program through the Department of Commerce to partner with South Carolina businesses to donate goods and services to a statewide raffle for fully vaccinated people to enter to win prizes. Examples of these prizes could include: a 1-year lease of a BMW or Volvo automobile, vacation packages at coastal resorts, golf packages, tickets to USC and Clemson football games and minor league baseball games, and gift cards to restaurants across South Carolina. 

Cunningham said he is confident that private businesses across the state would contribute to this program to help boost the number of fully vaccinated South Carolinians. 


“There’s not a doubt in my mind that South Carolina businesses would jump at the chance to participate in a program like this to get our people vaccinated,” said Cunningham. “Between the positive publicity they would receive from this program and the good they would be doing for our state, this is a slam dunk for any business in South Carolina.”