Memorial holiday weekend and concerns about COVID-19

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 5:43 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Travel experts expect 37 million Americans will be traveling fifty miles or more this Memorial weekend holiday. This will be the first big holiday since COVID restrictions are being eased here in Alabama and across the country.

About 32% of people in Alabama have been fully vaccinated and that is a concern of health leaders here.

Last Memorial Day Weekend was a time when Alabama and the country was ill prepared to handle the pandemic and that lead to a surge in cases.

“Well certainly last year we had a lot of cases of COVID-19 in Alabama. We still had a number of recommendations and restrictions in place,” Dr. Karen Landers, Deputy State Health Officer with ADPH said.

At that time there were no vaccines available. Alabama has an abundance of vaccines now, but the demand has dropped. This is a major concern of Landers and other health leaders in Alabama.

“I am concerned that we still don’t have enough people vaccinated in the state of Alabama and I certainly don’t want this holiday which is all about the sacrifice of Americans who have made before us to be marked by a surge in COVID-19,” Landers said.

The CDC has advised those who are fully vaccinated can enjoy the holiday but those who are not vaccinated should continue to take steps to protect themselves and others.

“If you are unvaccinated you are vulnerable, you are at risk. You are much more at risk. We know children under the age 12 years old are not eligible for vaccine,” Landers said.

Landers said those children and those unvaccinated need to continue to wear masks, social distance and stay out of big crowds. She said vaccinations are the only way to get out of this pandemic despite the recent trends and good numbers.

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