Low vaccination rates, new variants and large gatherings raise concerns in Alabama

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ALABAMA (WRBL) – The fourth of July weekend brought record travel since the COVID-19 pandemic eased it’s grip on the country. With large gathers, eased restrictions, new variants and a low vaccination rate in Alabama there are concerns about the potential for spread and for a new variant that could escape the vaccine.

Alabama’s vaccination rate sits at 33% currently and Dr. Karen Landers from the Alabama Department of Public Health said not only is there concern over the spread of the Delta variant which has been detected in Alabama, but another variant as well.

“Also the Alpha variant is more contagious as well and we’ve seen a lot more of the alpha variant so far. The overarching message is that persons who are unvaccinated certainly have not had a change in their risk in terms of contacting COVID-19,” said Dr. Landers. “And we need more people vaccinated to reduce the chances of outbreaks in the state of Alabama.”

Dr. Landers explained another concern is with a low vaccination rate there is a greater risk for the creation of a variant that the current COVID-19 vaccinations would not be effective against.

“But the longer these variants continue to be out there and more mutations occur there’s going to be the opportunity for a variant that is not going to be able to be covered at all with the vaccine or a very low rate with the vaccine and therefore again we will have a variant that escapes the vaccine.”

Dr. Landers emphasized the only way to stop this from happening is to get more people vaccinated.

Over 4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has been delivered to Alabama, but only just over 1.5 million Alabamians have been fully vaccinated.

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