Alabama’s top doc says he’s not sure what else can be done to increase vaccination rate


FILE – In this March 19, 2020, file photo, Alabama’s state health officer, Dr. Scott Harris, speaks during a news conference in Montgomery, Ala. Health officials are watching to see if the state has any upswing in coronavirus activity after the state lifted a stay-home order last week. Harris said right now it is unclear “what direction” the state is headed. He said by around May 10, the state should hopefully be able to judge if there is any rebound of virus activity. (Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala (WIAT) — The number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama continues to climb.

State health officer Dr. Scott Harris said Alabama is headed in the wrong direction with COVID-19, but feels there’s not much else that can be done to convince people to get vaccinated.

“You know that’s what we spend all our waking hours talking about,” Harris said as a guest on Alabama Public Television’s Capitol Journal.

“We’ve really tried to get the messaging out there. We’ve tried to get other people to be proxies for us, who are local officials, members of the community who are trusted voices of those communities.  We’ve done all type of celebrity endorsements,” Harris continued.

At the end of the day, Alabama still ranks last in the nation in the percentage of its residents being fully vaccinated, at just over 33%.

“Over the past seven days or so, our number of new cases per day have passed 400 per day, around 420, 430 cases per day.  That’s approximately double where they were a month ago,” Harris said.

With case numbers on the rise, Gov. Kay Ivey doubled down last week on not imposing any new health restrictions.

“You know I’m not going to have anything to do with government mandating and telling people what to do with their health. They’ve got good, common sense and they’ll use it,” Ivey said.

Dr. Harris said, if anything, maybe the new surge in COVID-19 cases will convince many still on the fence about vaccines to finally get vaccinated.

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