Governor Urges Alaskans To Leave Covid Behind – By Taking Shots To Open The Economy Again

Recovering From Covid, Governor Promises "A Bright Future" As Alaska Opens Shots For All Residents 16 & Over   Governor Mike D...

Recovering From Covid, Governor Promises "A Bright Future" As Alaska Opens Shots For All Residents 16 & Over 

Governor Mike Dunleavy (Photo Governor's Office) 

March 9th, 2021: Governor Mike Dunleavy, recovering from a bout of Covid-19 himself, held a live press conference on Tuesday. He announced that starting March 10th, all Alaskans 16 and over can take the vaccine.

Dunleavy was part of a group of people who attended a large late-February social event in Palmer and was one of at least 15 persons who apparently got sick there with Covid-19. Those affected included both Dunleavy and a Copper Valley legislator, Mike Cronk.

Governor Says Being Sick Is A "Burden On Others" 

The Governor put a heavy emphasis on his own experience with Covid-19. "As many of you know, I contracted the virus around 2 weeks ago," he told the people of the state. 

The experience has made him decide to get vaccinated himself. 

The Governor said he was seriously "inconvenienced" by the virus. "I don't want to be inconvenienced again. I will be signing up [for vaccinations]. I don't want to be a burden – not to the hospital system. I don't want to be a burden on my family." 

Dunleavy said, "I will get the vaccine knowing what I know. I don't want to be laid up in the house again. I don't want my family to be laid up in the house again. I don't want to spread it." 

There Are Three Groups Of Alaskans When It Comes To The Vaccine 

Governor Dunleavy talked of three different groups of people who were making different choices about combatting the virus.

The first group are people who have been vaccinated: One in every 4 Alaskans. "There's a group of Alaskans who got the vaccine," he said.

The second group doesn't look like they'll ever get it: "I have friends and acquaintances that said they don't want to get the vaccines – for a whole host of reasons." Dunleavy said he respected these people who oppose vaccinations for personal reasons. 

But then there's a third group: people who haven't taken the vaccine and are still making up their minds. 

The Governor was talking now to that third group. "For those Alaskans who are thinking about it, I want to relay my personal experience," he said. 

Governor Says Society Will Be "Opened Up" By Vaccinations 

Again and again, the Governor made the argument that the State of Alaska is on the cusp of being freed from Covid-19 and its restrictions and pain. Dunleavy was overwhelmingly positive as he linked the prospect of taking the vaccine as a solution for leaving many of the problems of Covid behind. 

The Governor said that as more people take the vaccine it will "open up society." 

He said that a strong push on vaccinations will lead to normalcy, including "opening up the Capitol." The Governor said that taking the vaccine "gets the society back up and running."

Everybody Over 16 In Alaska Can Now Have Vaccine: "A Game Changer" Says The Governor

Governor Dunleavy announced during his Tuesday, March 9th press conference, "We're going to try to get as much vaccine out there as possible."

With this in mind, Alaska now has the most flexible vaccination options in the entire country. Every single Alaskan over the age of 16 is now eligible. 

"This announcement is a game changer," said Dunleavy. Economically, socially, and medically, the state believes it is now on track toward normalcy if people take the vaccine. "This is going to bode well for making things move," Dunleavy said. He also mentioned its helpfulness in opening the tourism economy,

"If We Get Enough Folks Immune It's A Bright Future"  

"I think if we get enough folks immune, it's a bright future. I've always been optimistic. I'm pretty optimistic. I'm pretty hopeful," he said. 

Dunleavy Discusses His Own Illness: "The Virus Is Stealthy

How did the Governor get his case of Covid-19? Dunleavy frankly discussed how he hadn't already been vaccinated. "I didn't feel it was my right to jump to the front of the line," he said, adding he didn't think he was "old enough" to get the vaccine at the time. 

"I did my best to avoid the virus. The virus is very stealthy. It gets under...a lot of screens." And, he added – several times – that it was hard even if you didn't get deathly ill because "you end up taking yourself out of commission... you may have family members that get infected."

For Alaskans Who Are Debating: "It's Worth It" 

The Governor said his personal experience had led him to suggest to "the Alaskans that are debating" to learn from his plight. He felt that having been ill "makes it worth it to me to schedule the appointment to get the vaccination."

Rural Alaska Has
"Done A Fantastic Job" 

The Governor credited the Indian Health Service, municipalities and a strong system for good work in what he hoped would be the state that's leading the charge to "herd immunity" through vaccine. 

"We were able to get the vaccination out early," he said. 

"In rural Alaska they've done a fantastic job." He said that in the future, when the pandemic is being analyzed, Alaska's emphasis on "our most vulnerable first and foremost" will stand out.

(In the Copper Valley, local people have consistently been offered expanded vaccine accessibility, even before the rest of Alaska – and especially earlier than the rest of much of the United States.) 

Alaskans "Roll Up Our Sleeves" & "Work Together" In This "Lonely Outpost" Governor Says 

The Governor credited Alaskans' abilities to stand up to the constant threats of earthquakes, fires and other disasters to pitch in together and solve this problem too.

"Alaska is a lonely outpost," he said. "We roll up our sleeves. We work together. In the end, we've done a pretty good job addressing the issue."

"One Of These Days"

Overall, Dunleavy's report was the most optimistic in an entire year. "It's not over," he said. But, "One of these days it WILL be over."

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