Gov. Dunleavy urges Alaskans to get vaccinated, his most forceful message yet

Gov. Mike Dunleavy discusses the state of the coronavirus pandemic during a news conference at the Atwood Building in Anchorage on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. (Matthew Faubion / Alaska Public Media)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday issued his most forceful message yet asking Alaskans to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I strongly urge folks to get a vaccine — strongly urge them to do that,” Dunleavy said.

His message came on the same day that Providence Alaska Medical Center — Alaska’s largest hospital — announced it was rationing care due to the ongoing crush of COVID-19 patients. It’s a crisis point health care workers have warned about for weeks.

RELATED: Alaska’s largest hospital now rationing care due to COVID surge

In the past, Dunleavy has qualified his calls for vaccination.

He made the vaccine remarks while discussing the failure of legislation he proposed that was intended to ease the strain on hospitals from the recent surge in cases.

Hospitals asked Dunleavy to issue a disaster declaration. He declined to do that, and instead proposed the legislation, which would have increased access to telehealth care and temporarily relaxed some rules hospitals have to follow.

The bill died in the House.

RELATED: Alaska lawmakers land on $1,100 PFDs, Dunleavy calls another special session

By Tuesday, 62% of Alaskans age 12 and up received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 57% were fully vaccinated.

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