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Attendees at Republican event cheered Alabama’s low COVID vaccination rate

Alabama has the lowest percentage of fully COVID-19 vaccinated residents in the nation. Cases and hospitalizations are surging.

Marjorie Taylor Greene speaking at the Alabama Federation of Republican Women event. (Grady Thornton)

Attendees at a recent Republican fundraiser in Dothan, headlined by Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, cheered at the mention of Alabama’s low COVID-19 vaccination rate. 

Media were made to leave the July 23 fundraiser, held by the Alabama Federation of Republican Women at the Civic Center in Dothan, when Greene began to speak, but in a leaked video of the event, tweeted by the political radio and YouTube host David Parkman showed Greene saying, “I hear Alabama might be one of the most unvaccinated states in the nation.” 

The crowd, who paid $100 each to hear Greene speak, cheered exuberantly and clapped at her comments. 

Alabama is tied with Mississippi in having the lowest percentage of fully COVID-19 vaccinated residents in the nation. The unvaccinated accounted for 97 percent of recently hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Alabama, according to UAB. Of the 2,379 COVID-19 deaths confirmed in Alabama between Jan. 19 and June 30, unvaccinated individuals accounted for 99 percent, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. 

New cases and hospitalizations continue to climb across Alabama. There were 1,694 hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alabama on Tuesday, a 73 percent increase in one week and a 206 percent increase compared to two weeks ago.

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The state reported 3,442 new cases in the latest data updated Wednesday, bringing the seven-day average of newly reported cases to 2,635, a 140 percent increase from two weeks ago. 

Greene also said that President Joe Biden would be sending “one of his police state friends” to knock on Alabamians’ doors and ask about their COVID-19 vaccination status, saying that because of Alabama’s love of the Second Amendment, “they might not like the welcome they get.” 

Greene’s statements about Biden’s COVID-19 federal surge response teams mischaracterized what those teams do, however. Those teams are currently working in states that have low vaccination rates, and who ask for the help, by providing personnel to help track outbreaks, expanding testing and help promote messaging for the need to get vaccinated. 

In some states, there have been local community health experts and state health officials going door-to-door to provide information on the COVID-19 vaccines in hopes of boosting vaccination rates, but no federal workers are doing so, according to numerous news accounts. 

“I would say, for those individuals, organizations that are feeding misinformation and trying to mischaracterize this type of ‘trusted messenger’ work, I believe you are doing a disservice to the country and to the doctors, the faith leaders, community leaders and others who are working to get people vaccinated, save lives, and help end this pandemic,” said the White House’s COVID coordinator, Jeff Zients said in a press briefing.  

“The Alabama Republican Party did not host or sponsor the event with Marjorie Taylor Greene, and therefore have no firsthand knowledge of the comments made,” said ALGOP chairman John Wahl in a statement to APR on Wednesday. 

APR’s questions to the Alabama Federation of Republican Women about Greene’s comments on Tuesday were unanswered as of Wednesday afternoon.

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Written By

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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