[guest post by Dana]
Alabama’s Republican governor, Kay Ivey, doesn’t mince words and good on her:
Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday called out “the unvaccinated folks” for the rise in Covid-19 cases in her state, a remarkable plea at a time when many GOP leaders are refusing to urge people to get vaccinated even as Covid-19 cases surge in many parts of the country.
“Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,” Ivey told reporters in Birmingham.
Asked by reporters Thursday about plans to issue a mask mandate or other restrictions now that Covid cases are starting to rise again in her state, Ivey replied, “The new cases of Covid are because of unvaccinated folks. Almost 100% of the new hospitalizations are with unvaccinated folks. And the deaths are certainly occurring with unvaccinated folks.”
The unvaccinated, Ivey said, are “choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain.”
“We’ve got to get folks to take the shot,” she continued, calling the vaccine “the greatest weapon we have to fight Covid.”
Just how bad are things in Alabama? Pretty bad:
Alabama is the least vaccinated state in the country, with roughly 33.9% of residents fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Average daily Covid-19 cases in Alabama are nearly double what they were a week ago, and more than four times higher than they were two weeks ago.
Ivey lifted the mask mandate back in April, believing instead that people should use their own common sense and act responsibly with regard to protecting themselves and others by decreasing the opportunity for transmission. But the Delta variant changes the landscape:
[N]ow with the Delta variant spreading, experts are saying vaccinated and unvaccinated people should wear masks in areas where Covid-19 cases are high but vaccination rates are low.
Ivey on Thursday was asked by a reporter what it would take to implement a mask mandate, and replied that “I want folks to get vaccinated” and “why would we want mess around with just temporary stuff?”
Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Wyoming, and Louisiana are the five leading least vaccinated states, with less than 36% of the adult populations vaccinated against Covid-19.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like vaccination rates will increase anytime soon:
Most Americans who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 say they are unlikely to get the shots and doubt they would work against the aggressive delta variant despite evidence they do, according to a new poll that underscores the challenges facing public health officials amid soaring infections in some states.
Among American adults who have not yet received a vaccine, 35% say they probably will not, and 45% say they definitely will not, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 3% say they definitely will get the shots, though another 16% say they probably will.
What’s more, 64% of unvaccinated Americans have little to no confidence the shots are effective against variants — including the delta variant that officials say is responsible for 83% of new cases in the U.S. — despite evidence that they offer strong protection. In contrast, 86% of those who have already been vaccinated have at least some confidence that the vaccines will work.
As I said the other day, refusing to get vaccinated is reckless, frustrating, potentially puts others at risk, and certainly prolongs the pandemic. So, with the exception of those with medical issues that prevent them from receiving the vaccine, GET. VACCINATED. ALREADY.