Alabama Gov. says to blame the unvaccinated for COVID cases as press secretary looks shocked

Governor Kay Ivey’s (R-AL) press secretary looked shocked when the governor said that it’s time to start blaming unvaccinated people for the recent rise in COVID cases. 

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

Ivey’s press secretary, Gina Maiola, is seen standing behind Ivey throughout her press conference and appears to be unable to control her surprise at the governor’s remarks. Many users on Twitter pointed out Maiola’s reaction, saying that everyone has made that face “at some point in their career.”

“TGIF (Thank God it’s Friday). Get the vaccine, everybody,” Maiola said in a Twitter response to users who pointed out her reaction.

Alabama currently has the lowest vaccination rate of any state in the country. Roughly 33.9% of Alabamians are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Daily COVID cases are nearly double what they were a week ago and over four times higher than they were two weeks ago. Unlike other states, Alabama has not used federal relief money to incentivize citizens to get vaccinated. However, Ivey says she doesn’t know what else she can do to persuade people to get the shot. 

“I’ve done all I know how to do,” Ivey said. “I can encourage you to do something, but I can’t make you take care of yourself.” She added that the unvaccinated are “choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain.”

During a Friday press conference, Jen Psaki was asked what President Biden’s attitude is toward vaccine hesitancy. In a move that surprised some, Psaki responded that it is not the “role” of the government to blame people for their medical decisions.

“I don’t think our role is to place blame,” Psaki told reporters. “But what we can do is provide accurate information to people who are not yet vaccinated about the risks they are incurring, not only on themselves but also the people around them.” Reporters then pushed Psaki further, asking her whether the federal government would mandate vaccines in the near future. 

“That’s not the role of the federal government,” Psaki responded. “That is the role that institutions, private sector entities, and others may take.” 

However, President Biden and other senior officials have been referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” 

“We have a pandemic for those who haven’t gotten a vaccination,” Biden said on Wednesday. “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die. So it’s gigantically important that…we all act like Americans who care about our fellow Americans.”

New COVID cases and hospitalizations have been predominantly among unvaccinated people, evidence shows. In fact, in Maryland, every single person who died of COVID in June was unvaccinated, according to a spokesperson for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R). 130 people died due to COVID in the state last month.