Young, Murkowski ramp up message on COVID-19 vaccines as delta variant surges

Rep. Don Young in Anchorage on August 26, 2020. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska Congressman Don Young and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski are using their social media channels to promote vaccination against COVID-19 as infections and hospitalizations surge again.

“There’s much misinformation out there so I’ll be very clear in my position: These shots are safe, effective and they cost you nothing,” Young says in a video that he’s pinned to the top of his Twitter feed, for extra emphasis.

Early in the pandemic, Young played down the threat, calling it the “beer virus.” But for months he’s been urging Alaskans to get the shots. He survived a COVID-19 infection last fall that sent him to the hospital.

This week, with the highly contagious delta variant on the rise in Alaska, Young has ramped up the message with a more urgent video.

“I think it’s crucially important. I urge you to do this, as I have done,” he says on the video, which he posted on social media and sent to some Alaskans by email. “I got vaccinated. I believe it works. I know it works. I want you to do the same thing, for Alaska and for yourselves.”

Murkowski’s video is shorter and more adamant.

“I do not want to go back to mask-wearing inside,” she says, removing a mask. “And I know you don’t either. So get the vaccine.”

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan is not outspoken on the subject. His social media channels don’t feature videos promoting vaccination. In response to an inquiry, Sullivan’s office issued a statement:

It’s an individual choice, not the government’s choice. I got vaccinated because I wanted to protect my family, the people I work with, and the Alaskans I represent and interact with. 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.

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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