Base Tells Troops to Prove Vaccination as COVID Cases Rise

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama military base has ordered troops to show proof of vaccination in order to go without face masks as the state sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases — a rise attributed to low vaccination rates in the state.

The measure was put in place Tuesday at Fort Rucker, the home of the Army’s aviation program. If a soldier is not wearing a mask, base leadership can ask soldiers to show their vaccination cards. In a video posted to Facebook, base officials said the measure is needed because of rising case numbers on the base and in surrounding counties.

Alabama, which has the lowest vaccination rates in the country, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. State Health Officer Scott Harris said that is likely driven both by the low vaccination rates and the spread of the contagious delta variant of the virus.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Alabama has risen over the past two weeks from 205.43 new cases per day on June 28 to 559.57 new cases per day on July 12. According to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Alabama, only about 33% of the population is fully vaccinated compared to about 48% nationally.

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