Alabama has the lowest percentage of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the nation, and the number of COVID hospitalizations Thursday was nearing the state’s record high. The state also has the third highest COVID deaths rate per capita, and on Thursday reached over 17,000 confirmed deaths.
A new statewide campaign aims to get more Alabamians vaccinated against COVID-19, point them to testing and to break through the “information bubbles” many Alabamians are living in that promotes and sustains vaccine hesitancy, Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris wrote in an op-ed recently.
Just 49.3 percent of Alabamians are fully vaccinated against COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state also has the lowest percentage of residents in the nation who have received a booster dose, at 32.6 percent.
There were 2,871 people hospitalized with COVID in Alabama on Thursday, just shy of the state’s record of 3,080 set on Jan. 5, 2021.
There have been at least 17,001 confirmed COVID deaths in Alabama, as of Thursday but that figure will likely increase as prior deaths are confirmed and added to the state’s tally.
The Alabama Department of Public Health recently kicked off the “Alabama Unites Against COVID” campaign, with a website that points people to vaccination and testing sites, gives accurate information about COVID and the vaccines and shows four TV commercials aimed at spreading the vaccination message.
“COVID-19 has changed the way all of us conduct our daily lives and affects everyone, regardless of our neighborhoods, our political affiliations, our race, or our ethnicity,” Harris wrote in his op-ed, published by AL.com. “While many people have recovered from COVID-19, the disease can have serious, life-threatening complications, and its long-term effects are not known. Latest data show the number of Alabamians who have succumbed to COVID-19 is approaching 17,000, and numbers of deaths have exceeded births in the state for each of the past two years.”
“COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective in reducing severity of disease, hospitalizations, and deaths, and available to the public free of charge. Even so, the relatively low percentage of Alabama’s population vaccinated underscores the need for action. All Alabamians should do their part by getting vaccinated and getting boosters when eligible, especially since more infectious COVID-19 variants may someday emerge,” Harris continued.