Since the pandemic that's killed over 600 thousand people began, the Republican party—led by former President Donald Trump—repeatedly downplayed the effects of the virus and decried basic safety precautions designed to slow its spread.
As stronger, deadlier variants of the virus continue to emerge, cases are rising across the country and vaccination rates are lagging. Even so, Republican lawmakers and media personalities have spread conspiracy theories and disinformation designed to discourage viewers from potentially saving their lives.
Sadly, the politicization of the virus has disproportionately led to rising cases and low vaccination rates in majority-red states, prompting Republican governors—who once gleefully echoed Trump's conspiracy theories regarding the virus—are now pleading with their constituents to get vaccinated.
Republican Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, became the latest to express her frustration and placed the blame on unvaccinated people, many of whom are hers and Trump's voters.
Alabama’s Republican Governor @kayiveyforgov has had enough with unvaccinated people in her state: “It’s time to st… https://t.co/ZjU0ed26f3— David Begnaud (@David Begnaud) 1627010153.0
When asked what more she could do to encourage vaccination rates, a visibly annoyed Ivey said:
"I don't know. You tell me," Ivey said. "Folks supposed to have common sense. But it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down."
The forceful condemnation of unvaccinated people was surprising, coming from a pro-Trump Republican, especially considering the disproportionate amount of conservatives making up the voluntarily unvaccinated population.
Though some were glad to see the rebuke...
I was told that we should not be accusatory about the stubbornness of unvaccinated people, but if Governor Ivey - t… https://t.co/urPOWrrUBu— Tom Nichols (@Tom Nichols) 1627011694.0
Glad to see @kayiveyforgov say #GetVaccinatedNow .The science has always been the science, the facts about covid t… https://t.co/BAFALtNFMF— CaroleJMcCoyArtist🎨🖌 (@CaroleJMcCoyArtist🎨🖌) 1627055753.0
I feel the exasperation, I applaud the message and I love the expressive aide in the background. https://t.co/bqNXUbVaEs— Crista Hogan (@Crista Hogan) 1627046819.0
...It's important to note, that Governor Ivey's own response impacted the low vaccination rates. In addition to her refusal to consider further mask mandates for Alabama, Ivey has banned the implementation of vaccine verification for private businesses and vowed to fight the Biden administration's efforts to have volunteers go door-to-door in under-vaccinated communities with information on how to get the shot. Just over a week ago, she dismissed the need for vaccine incentives in the state.
Social media users didn't let her forget it.
Y’all this woman said no to mask mandates, masks in schools, vaccine passports, and refused federal aid to get peop… https://t.co/OyoOxiGMzQ— Emma Davis (@Emma Davis) 1627048597.0
She also said she has no plans to implement a mask mandate again. https://t.co/3xaNrmorRb— Marisa Kabas (@Marisa Kabas) 1627014708.0
REALLY? You're blaming children too young for the vaxx? The immunocompromised? You're not blaming yourself and the… https://t.co/J00kz6TJBQ— Ronni Ron the Bonbon (@Ronni Ron the Bonbon) 1627022566.0
Governor Kay Ivey has spent the past year alternating between grandstanding about banning abortion; pushing through… https://t.co/HZyBkDYl4f— The Hoarse Whisperer (@The Hoarse Whisperer) 1627045153.0
How about adding a school mask mandate meemaw ivey https://t.co/NlfHSM86nH— not almost a med student (@not almost a med student) 1627057175.0
Alabama is among the lowest vaccination rates in the nation.