An Alabama state health official on Friday revealed that nearly all of the COVID-19 deaths in the state were among people who were not vaccinated against the virus.
State Health Officer Scott Harris told The Associated Press that just 26 of Alabama’s 11,600 COVID-19 deaths were people who were fully vaccinated, and almost 2,000 COVID-19 patients currently being treated in state hospitals are unvaccinated.
“I think it’s correct to say that we wouldn’t see these kinds of numbers if we had more people vaccinated,” Harris said. “Again, the case numbers are being driven by people that aren’t vaccinated, which is unfortunate.”
Alabama has reportedly seen a drop off in the number of residents who are opting to get vaccinated. Harris noted Friday that the state has seen a surge in hospitalizations and severe illness as a result.
Health officials in the state have returned to advising people to resume wearing masks and get vaccinated if they have not yet done so in an effort to mitigate the spread.
Nearly 1,923 people were reportedly hospitalized in Alabama as of Friday. The state has not seen such high rates since late January, according to the AP.
Alabama saw about 3,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations during the height of the pandemic, and health officials warn that the state is inching closer to that number. Harris said on Friday that about 93 percent of Alabama hospitals’ intensive care beds have already reached capacity.
“It’s been reported to us from hospitals that virtually all of those patients are unvaccinated patients,” Harris told the AP, adding that he is still collaborating with the state to get conclusive numbers.
About 34 percent of Alabama’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 44 percent have gotten least one dose of the vaccine, making the state one of the least vaccinated in the nation, the AP reported.