BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - COVID-19 cases are rising in every state, but especially in Alabama — one of the states with the poorest vaccination rate. While fielding questions Thursday, Gov. Kay Ivey placed the blame squarely on the unvaccinated.
"Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the vaccinated folks," Ivey said.
Data collected by Johns Hopkins University shows Alabama has tallied more than 10,000 new cases in the last two weeks.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, 1.9 million people have received a single dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine and just 1.5 million people have completed the vaccine series.
Census records place Alabama’s population at 5.2 million people — meaning less than 30% of Alabamians are fully vaccinated.
Kay Ivey, Alabama’s governor, told reporters on Thursday it’s time to start blaming unvaccinated people for the recent surge in COVID-19. (Source: WIAT/NNS via FOX Edge)
"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 said.
Health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House have stressed a similar point for weeks: The unvaccinated are driving this summer’s surge of the coronavirus.
Data shows that more than 99% of recent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated.
"The new cases of COVID are because of unvaccinated folks," Ivey said. "Almost 100% of the new hospitalizations are with unvaccinated folks. And the deaths are certainly occurring with the unvaccinated folks. These folks are choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain."
Ivey’s comments are the latest in a string of pleas from Republican lawmakers who are working to get their constituents vaccinated.
Thursday’s comments are consistent with Ivey’s record of encouraging Alabamians to roll up a sleeve. But some of her policies have worked against other efforts to increase vaccinations.
While many states have sought to incentivize the vaccines by offering entries into lotteries, Ivey opposed such measures in the Yellow Hammer State — saying common sense was enough incentive.
In May, she also barred businesses and institutions from requiring vaccine passports in Alabama.
This story was reported from Atlanta. The Associated Press contributed to this report.