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Opinion | Do we need a vaccine for stubborn?

Get vaccinated, Alabama.


What is it about Alabamians that they won’t get vaccinated for COVID-19? Vaccinations are free and easily available all over the place. Yet, Alabama is second lowest only to “Thank God for Mississippi” in the number of people who have been vaccinated for the coronavirus.

SMH! And again.

Here’s a vaccine, developed in record time, that can practically guarantee you won’t get the virus, but even if by some chance you do, it won’t kill you. Yet Alabamians in large numbers aren’t getting that vaccine. Oh, they’re getting COVID – more than 545,000 so far. And people are still dying. Right now. Today.

Now, even children as young as 12 years old can be vaccinated, and that’s a good thing. The Washington Post reported Friday that a new study shows “nearly one-third of the 12- to 17-year-olds who were hospitalized with Covid-19 during a surge of cases earlier this year required intensive care, and 5 percent required mechanical ventilation.”

Do you want schools to reopen in the fall with full classrooms? Get your kid vaccinated (and yourself, while you’re at it). What about vacations to the beach or mountains? Musical concerts? Live theater? Just a night at the movies? Get vaccinated, dudes and dudettes.

There is no 5G chip. Or if there is, mine isn’t working (wink-wink).

I was fully vaccinated in February. At UAB, where I teach, there were fast vaccinations for employees. Of course, front-line health-care workers were first, as they should have been. But other faculty and workers, especially those holding in-person or hybrid classes, were close to the front of the line, too.

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Because of the high vaccination rate across the University of Alabama System, my four classes in the fall are listed as face-to-face. We’ll be back to normal, though I still may wear a mask or shield.

My wife, who has some significant underlying health issues and a compromised immune system, was vaccinated at a Walmart in March. I got the Pfizer vaccine; she received the Moderna. Neither of us had any significant side-effects.

Today, you can practically show up at any pharmacy and get a free vaccine, even if you’re a walk-up.

I went to, typed in my ZIP code, and found nearly 50 places within seven miles of my home where I could get vaccinated if I needed one. I don’t because I got vaxxed at the first opportunity.

President Biden set a goal in the nation of 70 percent of Americans having at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4. The nation will likely make that goal; Alabama won’t.

In a report by The New York Times, Alabama isn’t predicted to hit 70 percent vaccinated for more than a year from now  That is shameful, but it’s typical for Alabama, the “We Dare Defend Our Wrongs” state.

Maybe if high schools, colleges and universities prohibited unvaccinated folks from attending football games in the fall, we could increase that number of vaccinations. There are very few problems in our state that a football game won’t solve. 

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Conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, and curmudgeons oppose so-called vaccine passports. These would be cards that would prove you’ve been fully vaccinated. I have one on my iPhone. Somehow, these difficult, cantankerous people believe this somehow is a violation of their constitutional rights.

Really? We carry driver licenses. We show our Medicare or insurance cards at the doctor to prove we have coverage. I carry an ID card at UAB to open the buildings I teach in. I’ve got no problem with any of that, or with the “scary” vaccination passport.

Get vaccinated, Alabama. Don’t keep proving to the rest of the nation that we really don’t have very smart people here. That we are not team players.

That we believe a virus that has killed nearly 600,000 Americans and more than 11,000 in Alabama doesn’t really exist.

We have COVID vaccines. Maybe we need a vaccine for stubborn, too.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes this column most weeks for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected] 

Written By

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.



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