‘We must take this seriously’: Rep. Don Young calls for Alaskans to get their COVID-19 vaccine

U.S. Representative Don Young.
U.S. Representative Don Young.(KTVF)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:03 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:21 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska’s lone congressman, Republican Don Young, is calling on eligible Alaskans to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Young spoke in a video posted to Youtube Thursday telling Alaskans, “We must take this seriously.”

“These shots can save your life and the lives of people around you,” Young said. “They’ll help us fight this virus and get done with it so we don’t have to wear the mask anymore. So go online or go to your local drug store or wherever they set up the clinics and make an appointment today or get the shot today.”

The call for Alaskans to get their shots comes close to a year after Young himself was hospitalized with COVID-19.

“I urge you to do this, as I have done — I got vaccinated,” he said in the video.

As of Thursday, the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard shows that 57.5% of Alaskans age 12 and older have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and about 52.2% are fully vaccinated.

When COVID-19 cases were first reported in Alaska in March 2020, Young faced some criticism for calling COVID-19 the “beer virus” in front of a group of seniors in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

On March 26, 2020, Young released a video message about COVID-19 in which he said, “Weeks ago, I did not fully grasp the severity of this crisis, but clearly we are in the midst of an urgent public health emergency.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski also took to social media this week to encourage people to get the vaccine.

“I don’t want to go back to mask-wearing inside, and I know you don’t either. Get the vaccine,” Murkowski wrote on Twitter.

In response to an emailed request, Sen. Dan Sullivan said vaccination is an individual choice, but that he encourages Alaskans to consider getting vaccinated.

“I got vaccinated because I wanted to protect my family, the people I work with, and the Alaskans I represent and interact with,” Sullivan said in an emailed statement. “We all want to put this pandemic behind us for the benefit of our health, our families and our economy, so I encourage Alaskans to strongly consider getting the vaccine, like hundreds of thousands of our fellow Alaskans have done. As always, if you have questions or concerns about the vaccine, consult with a medical professional.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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