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Just 26 of the 11,600 people who have died from COVID-19 in Alabama since the pandemic began were vaccinated against the disease, Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris said.
The majority of the approximately 2,000 people currently hospitalized with the disease in the state are also unvaccinated, Harris said, according to the Associated Press.
According to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health, approximately 33% of people in Alabama have been fully vaccinated against the disease. The state has the lowest vaccination rate out of any state in the US, the AP reported.
About half of the entire US population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I think it’s correct to say that we wouldn’t see these kinds of numbers if we had more people vaccinated,” Harris said, according to the AP. “Again, the case numbers are being driven by people that aren’t vaccinated, which is unfortunate.”
While breakthrough infections — cases where vaccinated individuals contract COVID-19 — can occur, experts and data say that the vaccines remain effective in staving off serious illness and death.
There are 1,923 COVID-19 patients in the hospital in Alabama, according to state data. It’s the highest number of hospitalizations seen in the state since January when vaccines were not widely available. About 93% of beds in Alabama ICUs were occupied, Harris said, according to the AP.
According to state data, cases in the state were up this week more than 3% over the week prior. Cases are up nationwide, and surging in parts of the country, driven by the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant of the disease.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, and adviser to President Joe Biden and the longtime director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this week that new daily cases of COVID-19 could reach 200,000 in the coming weeks.
“What we’re seeing, because of this increase in transmissibility, and because we have about 93 million people in this country who are eligible to get vaccinated who don’t get vaccinated — that you have a significant pool of vulnerable people,” he said.