Ken Roberts had reported in the Tuscaloosa News that the University of Alabama had lifted face mask requirements for students, faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Roberts wrote:
All unvaccinated faculty, staff and students will still be required to wear face coverings inside all university buildings, according to UA’s announcement. Physical distancing of at least 3 feet will still be required.
There would be a record of anyone who had been vaccinated at the University Medical Center, but anyone getting vaccinations by other providers would need to report it to the university. The university had posted its latest status.
Other schools, such as Tulane, were trying incentives for vaccinations. Nola.com‘s Della Hasselle reported:
Tulane University, New Orleans’ largest private employer, is upping the game to convince workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by offering a $500 cash bonus to any full-time faculty or staff member who gets the vaccine by July 31.
Not long after the university’s announcement, Alabama‘s Governor Kay Ivy signed “legislation banning private business and public entities, including schools, from requiring proof of COVID vaccination to provide services,” as reported by the Montgomery Advertiser‘s Brian Lyman.
The idea of a “vaccine passport” was soundly rejected by most Alabama legislators. In his article, Lyman included the latest information on Alabama‘s rate of vaccinations:
The state still trails the rest of the country in COVID-19 vaccinations, despite pushed by Ivey and other officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 36% of Alabamians 18 and older have received at least one shot, compared to 49% nationwide. About 76% of adults 65 and older have received one shot, compared to 85% nationwide.
Axio‘s Margaret Talev wrote about a recent poll about the lack of trust that most American’s had in the honesty of others about their vaccination status. She reported:
Americans are taking off their masks…despite significant distrust over strangers’ honesty about their COVID-19 vaccination status and amid major confusion over Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on mask use and social distancing for those vaccinated.
According to CBS/42, Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris was concerned about the consequences of people not having been vaccinated during the Memorial Day weekend. CBS/42 reported:
Despite the availability, Alabama lags behind other states in fully vaccinating its residents. According to the latest numbers from the Alabama Department of Public Health, just over 1.3 million Alabamians are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Gov. Kay Ivey has ended the statewide mask mandate and just signed a law that prevents someone from having to show proof of vaccination or a so-called “vaccine passport.”
While Harris said he supports Ivey’s decisions, he knows that with the upcoming holiday weekend, people will be flocking together to celebrate.
“I think we’re asking Alabamians to please be responsible and do the right thing. I think most people will do that and we can expect there’s some people who won’t want to do that,” he said.
Short of some kind of vaccine passport, residents of Alabama would have to accept whether other people have been vaccinated on a “good faith” basis. In T-Town, there had been widespread use of fake IDs, even when there were significant penalties involved. With no penalties at all involved with someone lying about their vaccination status, people might be well concerned about whether someone who is not wearing a mask is among the 4.9 million Alabamians who are not fully vaccinated.