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Lawmakers field COVID-19 questions as Alabama takes the lead in daily coronavirus deaths

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Last week, Alabama led the nation with the highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths. The Associated Press reported that an average of more than 100 Alabamans died from COVID-19 each day last week, based on data from John Hopkins University.

Alabama lawmakers fielded questions about the coronavirus pandemic during a town hall hosted by AL.com last week. Gov. Kay Ivey, Senator Tommy Tuberville, and Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels talked about vaccine efficacy, misinformation, and leading during a pandemic.

During the Q&A, Ivey spoke against the idea of federal mandates requiring vaccines.

“I certainly oppose any kind of government mandate for vaccinations. We don’t need government telling us how to manage our own health. More people stepping up and volunteering to do it and it’s the right thing to do,” Ivey said.

But Ivey also urged Alabamans to get the jab and said that those who are concerned about the safety of vaccines should talk to their trusted medical provider.

“The information is accurate, and if you have a concern about whether or not you should get the shot, for goodness sake, talk to your doctor. They know you better than anybody else and your health needs, and see what they say and follow their lead,” Ivey said. “But goodness knows everybody needs to take the shot. Its working; it’s effective.”

Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville voiced support for the vaccine but opposed related mandates.

“The vaccine for instance, does it help? I think it helps. I took it. My family took it. Everybody on my staff has taken it. Nobody was forced to, I don’t believe that it should be mandated. I think you should have your own choice, it’s a free country,” Tuberville said.

Misinformation about the nature of the coronavirus and vaccines was a major topic at town hall.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels said that Alabama’s elected officials need to work together to provide more consistent public health information to Alabamans.

“I think one of the things we have to do is a better job educating the public about the impact. Because you have all this misinformation out there, we have to counter that with the correct information. And so I think we have to have a consistent message. Local lawmakers, local municipal office holders, statewide office holders, all of us have to come together and start educating our constituents,” Daniels said.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health close to two million Alabamans have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine. That’s around 41 percent the population.

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