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Ivey blames the unvaccinated for COVID-19 cases

“These folks are choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain,” Ivey said. “We’ve got to get folks to take the shot.”

Gov. Kay Ivey received a COVID-19 vaccine and held a press conference at Baptist Hospital Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Montgomery, Alabama. (GOVERNOR'S OFFICE/HAL YEAGER)

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey drew national headlines when she made comments that appeared to blame Alabamians who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine for this summer’s rise in new COVID-19 cases.

“It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks,” Ivey told reporters. “It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

“Let’s be crystal clear about this issue,” Ivey said. “Media, I want you to start reporting the facts. The few cases of COVID are because of unvaccinated folks. Almost 100 percent of the new hospitalizations are with unvaccinated folks. And the deaths certainly are occurring with unvaccinated folks.”

“These folks are choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain,” Ivey said. “We’ve got to get folks to take the shot. The vaccine is the greatest weapon we have to fight COVID. There’s no question about that.”

Ivey made that statement talking to reporters while in Birmingham to celebrate the opening of Landing’s corporate headquarters.

Ivey was vaccinated herself soon after the vaccine became available to the public and has repeatedly urged Alabamians to get the vaccine, which is free, widely available across the state, and 95 percent effective against developing serious cases of COVID-19.

The governor opposes more lockdowns.

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“Alabama is open for business,” Ivey has said repeatedly.

According to data from the Mayo Clinic, just 41.6 percent of Alabamians have received at least one vaccine dose. This is the fifth-lowest percentage of any state in the country. Only 33.9 percent of the state’s population is considered fully vaccinated. Alabama and Mississippi are dead last in the country if those two percentages are averaged together.

In response to comments from APR columnist Josh Moon, who suggested that the governor is not doing enough, Maiola wrote on social media: “Tip for media who keep pushing the idea of more government mandates: wearing a mask will not defeat the virus, neither will closing businesses/schools. We have a vaccine that works, so, start acting like it. Government cannot force you to take care of yourself.”

There are concerns that as long as most Alabamians continue to refuse to take the vaccine that we will constantly have active COVID-19 cases spreading across the case. There are currently 646 Alabamians hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms – the highest number since March 1. The vast majority of those people elected not to get the vaccine. The state averaged 954 new coronavirus cases per day last week – the worst week since February. To this point, 11,472 Alabamians have died from COVID-19. Over 90 percent of the new deaths in Alabama are in unvaccinated people.

There are concerns that when Alabamians go back to schools, football games and churches this fall like in pre-pandemic times that cases, hospitalizations, and deaths will all surge.

The Alabama Legislature and the governor signed legislation that bars schools and businesses from requiring that students and customers get the COVID-19 vaccine. To this point, 4,172,525 people globally have died from complications from COVID-19.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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