Republican Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama broke with current conservative orthodoxy on Thursday and placed the blame for the worsening surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant squarely where it belongs – on individuals who are refusing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Cases have exploded in the Yellowhammer State with nearly 10,000 new infections having been reported within the last two weeks, and Alabama’s vaccination rate is an abysmal 33.9 percent, according to Our World in Data.
“Let’s be crystal clear about this issue. And media, I want you to start reporting the facts. The new cases of COVID are because of unvaccinated folks. 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 said in an interview with CBS 42 in Birmingham on Thursday evening. “Y’all, we’ve got to get people to take the shot.”
Vaccines are “the greatest weapon we have to fight COVID. The data proves it. There’s no question about that. I’ve taken the shot, back in December, both shots, and it’s just the thing to do,” Ivey added.
“So, the unvaccinated is who we need to focus on. Y’all get them to start taking the shot. It’s their job to take care of themselves and us as well. We can’t do that for them. All we can do is have everybody take the shot for themselves. So encourage others to do likewise,” the governor continued.
“I want folks to get vaccinated, that’s the cure. That prevents everything. Why would we want to mess around with this temporary stuff? We don’t need to encourage people to go halfway in curing this disease. Let’s get it done,” she said. “We know what it takes to get it done, that’s to get a shot in the arm.”
The governor also expressed enormous frustration at those who are refusing to get vaccinated and said that she has run out of ideas on how to motivate people to do the right thing.
“I don’t know, you tell me. Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the vaccinated folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,” she said. “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.”
But as political commentator John Lee pointed out on Twitter later that night, Ivey has bent over backward to block measures that would put pressure on people to get vaccinated.
A quick Google search shows that in May, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill that prohibited private businesses and public institutions from requiring COVID-19 "vaccine passports" to access services or refusing those not inoculated.
So, "I don't know, you tell me," huh? https://t.co/fDO6pW984v
— John Lee (@koreanforeigner) July 23, 2021
What's Your Reaction?
Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.