Alabama Governor Says ‘It’s Time To Start Blaming Unvaccinated People’ As Pandemic Worsens
Ivey went on to describe the shots as “safe” and “effective,” saying, “The data shows it works. [It] cost you nothing. It saves lives. “
But the governor’s remarks became sharper when she was pressed for what it would take for more Alabamans to get vaccinated.
“I don’t know. You tell me,” Ivey said. [are] supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated people, not the common people. It’s the unvaccinated people who let us down.
Alabama remains the state with perhaps the lowest vaccination rate in the country, according to CDC: Only 39.6 percent of its residents aged 12 and over were fully vaccinated, compared to 48.8 percent of Americans nationally who got their shots.
On Thursday, Ivey told reporters she had “done everything I can do” to increase the number of vaccines in her state.
“I can encourage you to do something,” she said, “but I can’t make you take care of yourself.”
The White House took a different approach when asked about Ivey’s remarks on Friday. “We are not here to blame or threaten; we are there to provide accurate information, ”press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
“We understand his frustration,” Psaki added, noting that the administration would continue to educate Americans on the risks of not being vaccinated.
In recent days, federal health officials have warned of an “unvaccinated pandemic” as the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads across the country.
The Delta variant now accounts for over 83% of the virus circulating in the United States, According to the CDC, and unvaccinated people account for 97% of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths nationwide.
Meanwhile, the White House has toughened its rhetoric towards social media companies like Facebook and conservative media including Fox News, urging them to stop the proliferation of vaccine misinformation.
A senior spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a White House official tested positive for Covid-19 this week, and the Capitol Chief Medical Officer is considering reimposing a mask recommendation on the inside the complex.
Asked Thursday about the possibility of a mask mandate for vaccinated Americans, President Joe Biden told reporters its administration would “follow science”. Government health experts, he said, “were examining all possibilities.”
Maeve Sheehey contributed to this report.