More than a month after offering tourists free COVID-19 vaccine if they took an Alaska vax-ation, the governor of the nation’s largest state himself remains unvaccinated.
Asked why on Thursday, Corey Allen Young, deputy press secretary to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, answered with only this:
“We will let you know when he does get the vaccine.”
The nonvaccination is unusual. Dunleavy is not known to be an anti-vaxxer.
His administration is actively promoting vaccination for all Alaskans, and he has personally bragged about the state’s “COVID-19 response and vaccination rates, effectively protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
Overall, his administration’s handling of the pandemic has been a glowing success story.
Alaska has the third-lowest death rate in the nation, according to the Worldometer tracker. Only Vermont and Hawaii have fared better.
Still people sick
But Dunleavy himself was infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and came down with COVID-19 in March. After recovering, he suggested to Alaskans they should get vaccinated.
“If you get the vaccination, after your first shot, you’ve got a pretty good dose of immunity for the most part if everything works out. And then, you don’t have to end up under house arrest.”
But Dunleavy later also expressed the view that “the COVID-19 vaccine is a private health decision best left between Alaskans and their doctor. I am unequivocally opposed to any government order requiring Alaskans to get this vaccine, or using an individual’s vaccine status as a means of restricting their rights.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that those who suffer COVID-19 get vaccinated after recovery even though the infection triggers the production of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
The reason is “because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19,” according to the CDC. “Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible – although rare = that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.”
There is, however, one big caveat.
“If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine,” the federal agency says.
If Dunleavy underwent such treatment back in March, he would still be in the 90-day window.
Monoclonal antibodies have been in use as an “investigational therapy” for months, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week issued an emergency use authorization for the treatment.
Dunleavy has revealed nothing about his COVID treatments and remained mum about his vaccination status though other governors have made quite the show of it.
But others – most notably Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis – have stayed mum.
DeSantis got vaccinated out of the “public eye even as governors elsewhere across the political spectrum have been vaccinated publicly to reassure Americans that the shots are safe,” the Associated Press complained after it was revealed DeSantis had been vaccinated.
“DeSantis had recently said he would be vaccinated soon – but no announcement was made by his office when he received it and no journalists were on hand.”