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Local doctors react to Gov. Ivey’s “unvaccinated people” comments

Birmingham  WBRC logo Birmingham WBRC 7/24/2021 Josh Gauntt
Jefferson County’s top doctor isn’t going as far as Governor Kay Ivey did in calling out unvaccinated people, but he understands the frustrations. © Provided by Birmingham WBRC Jefferson County’s top doctor isn’t going as far as Governor Kay Ivey did in calling out unvaccinated people, but he understands the frustrations.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Governor Kay Ivey is getting national attention for her comments over our state’s dead-last ranking for Covid-19 vaccinations.

“Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming unvaccinated folks not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,” Ivey said Thursday after a business launch in Birmingham.

Jefferson County’s top doctor isn’t going as far as Ivey, in calling out unvaccinated people, but he understands the frustrations.

“I don’t want to blame people. I want to encourage people to roll up your sleeve and get vaccinated,” Dr. Mark Wilson, Jefferson County’s health officer said. Wilson says the COVID-19 vaccine is our way out of the pandemic. He and other health leaders don’t want us to end up like before. “After all we’ve been through with businesses shut down, people sick, children losing parents. All of us want this to be over. Vaccines are the answer,” Wilson said.

UAB Infectious Disease expert Dr. Michael Saag tells WBRC he’s glad Ivey is taking an active role now.

However, at this point it doesn’t seem like the governor has plans to implement another statewide mask order.

“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 added.

Doctors say the rising cases lead to hospitalizations, which could unfold over the next few weeks. It could also lead to more deaths around the state.

According to New York times COVID-19 tracking database, there’s been an over 300% increase in COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks in Alabama.

Wilson tells us there’s been a dramatic rise in cases in Jefferson County. It has him and other medical leaders worried.

“When you look at how fast they’re going up, it looks like they are probably going to keep going up and maybe even accelerate. This new Delta variant is the prominent variant for sure and it is much more contagious so it’s spreading really fast,” Wilson said.

Friday, Governor Ivey reiterated what she told reporters Thursday about unvaccinated people. We also asked her about incentives to help increase vaccinations and she feels it’s not the governments place.

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