MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) – Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is urging college football fans to get their shots before heading to stadiums this season.
College football kicks off in weeks, raising concerns that crowded stadiums could help spread the coronavirus. Asked about those concerns this week, the Republican governor said the cure was to get more people vaccinated.
“If everyone got vaccinated, we wouldn’t have a problem. Just snap the picture, then go enjoy your soccer game, ”Ivey told reporters after attending an event with college mascots on the steps of the Alabama Capitol.
Alabama state health official Dr Scott Harris said the state’s Public Department has issued guidelines on sporting events, including recommending spacing and emphasizing the importance vaccinations.
“Outdoor events are generally safer than indoor events, but the fact that hundreds of thousands of people gather during a pandemic is going to result in some transmission of the disease,” Harris said. “We hope that people are vaccinated enough so that this can be minimized. ”
Alabama has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States with 34.6% of the population fully vaccinated. The state has seen a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths that medical authorities have attributed to the highly contagious delta variant and the state’s low vaccination rate.
Alabama coach Nick Saban has also been a strong advocate for immunization and participated in a public service advertisers t over the summer encouraging Alabamians to “get your COVID-19 vaccine”.
Saban earlier this month again urged people to get vaccinated.
“We hope we can have full capacity in the stadium,” he said. “I hope that more and more people get vaccinated so that they have the opportunity to do so. But it’s everyone’s personal choice.