Saban tapes message encouraging Alabamians to get vaccinated

Saban tapes message encouraging Alabamians to get vaccinated

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama football coach Nick Saban and other sports figures have taped a public service announcement encouraging Alabamians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says Saban and others, including former NBA star Charles Barkley, participated in the PSA saying vaccinations are the way to make sure sports stadiums are filled and “loud again” this fall.

“College football fans and players both want full stadiums this fall. Let’s make sure we can safely make this happen by getting vaccinated. Please get your COVID-19 vaccine,” Saban says in the spot, according to a script provided to The Associated Press. “We want Bryant-Denny Stadium loud again this coming season and Roll Tide!”

The public service announcement is expected to be released next week. It comes as state health officials are looking for ways to boost lagging vaccination rates and persuade people to sign up for shots.

Less than 25% of Alabamians have been fully vaccinated, which ranks last nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The public service announcement is part of a campaign by the Alabama Department of Public Health to address vaccine hesitancy, State Health Officer Scott Harris said.

University of Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne has said the school intends to allow 100% capacity next season for the defending national champions.

Byrne posted a tweet saying he appreciated “Coach Saban’s leadership encouraging vaccination.”