Some members of a crowd gathered in Cullman, Ala., briefly booed former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE after he told those at his rally to take the coronavirus vaccine.
“You know what? I believe totally in your freedoms. I do. You've got to do what you have to do. But I recommend, take the vaccines. I did it. It’s good. Take the vaccines,” Trump said during his rally on Saturday as a crowd started to boo the former president.
Trump advises his audience in Alabama to take the Covid vaccine pic.twitter.com/aaxQfnnxoh— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 22, 2021
“No, that’s OK. That’s all right,” said Trump, who subsequently underscored that people had the ability to choose whether they were going to get vaccinated.
“You’ve got your freedoms, but I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to know, OK? I’ll call up Alabama. I’ll say, ‘Hey, you know what?’ But it is working. But you do have your freedoms. You have to keep — you have to maintain that.”
Vaccination has been a sensitive subject for some vaccine-hesitant Americans, especially in states that have seen surges of new COVID-19 cases, including Alabama.
Alabama has been registering higher numbers of cases in recent days, including 3,799 new cases on Thursday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In comparison, the number of new daily cases averaged in the hundreds in June.
Alabama has also maintained lower vaccination rates than many other states, with about 36 percent of the state being fully vaccinated, per data from Johns Hopkins University.
The city where Trump held his rally had declared a state of emergency related to COVID-19 on Thursday as a shortage of hospital beds and a surge of cases in the state have hit local communities.
The chief operating officer at Cullman Regional Medical Center had written to Cullman’s mayor and city council on Wednesday asking the city to provide additional resources for the rally on Saturday and said health care professionals were grappling with hospital and ER overcrowding, labor shortages, and hospital bed shortages.