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Opinion | Put blame for the COVID surge where it belongs

We’re not really a very “common sense” state. We’re suckers for misinformation.


In August, the beginning of the fall semester at UAB, I’m scheduled to teach four in-person classes. That means face-to-face. Teaching like a teacher should teach.

But that could get derailed thanks to either ignorant, stubborn, or easily misled people who refuse to get a COVID vaccine.

Alabama is the least vaccinated state in the nation. No, we can’t even thank Mississippi now.

UAB has a higher student vaccination rate than the state average, but it’s not great, though more than 70 percent of UAB’s health care workers are vaccinated.

Still, vaccine progress is stalled in Alabama, even to the point that Gov. Kay Ivey is fed up.

It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks,” Ivey said in a story posted Friday on APR and reported by APR’s Eddie Burkhalter. “It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down. … I’ve done all I know how to do. I can encourage you to do something, but I can’t make you take care of yourself.

Ivey is correct. Blame the unvaccinated folks for the new spike in virus infections. There has been more misinformation about the vaccine, mainly from conservatives and Republicans, than should be allowed.

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Folks are supposed to have common sense,” Ivey said. Yeah, and frogs wouldn’t hit their butts on the ground every time they hopped if they had wings.

We’re not really a very “common sense” state. We’re suckers for misinformation. Part of that is that our education levels are fairly low. Part is because we’re susceptible to conspiracy theories. Part of it is that we don’t think about others, only ourselves.

We’re selfish.

Meanwhile, cases in Alabama are soaring, and hospitalizations are soaring along with them. And now, younger people are getting sicker and being admitted to hospitals.

As reported by The Washington Post, Brytney Cobia, a doctor at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, wrote on Facebook that more and more “young healthy people” with “very serious COVID infections” are entering the hospital.

“One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late,” Cobia wrote.

This is not a game. It’s not make-believe. There is no conspiracy to put a Bill Gates chip in your arm. People of all ages are getting sick and dying in high numbers again, and the one characteristic most of them have in common: They are not vaccinated.

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Vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective. No vaccine is. More people get sick from the flu who have been vaccinated for the flu than are getting sick after being vaccinated for COVID, so the vaccine is really good, as proved in study after study.

More important, if you do get a so-called break-through case of COVID after being vaccinated, chances are very high that you will have only mild symptoms and that you will not die.

People, those are the facts. Believe the facts.

It’s a most selfish act not to be vaccinated. You can get the virus and, even if you don’t have serious symptoms, you can easily pass it on to someone else, especially those who aren’t vaccinated. Maybe it’ll be your older parents. A sibling or close friend. Or even your kids.

Children younger than 12 cannot get the vaccine yet, which is more the reason for those who can get vaccinated to do so.

If you refuse to get vaccinated, you’re directly complicit in making other people sick and even for them dying or having lasting COVID-related disabilities.

We talk a lot about “baby killers” in Alabama in regard to those who support a woman’s right to choose. Don’t get vaccinated, and you might be a kid killer.

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“It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks,” Ivey said.

So, let’s do it.

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

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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