Wallace State health science

Wallace State health science student Ashley Miller, on right, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to fellow student Tina Scott during Friday's vaccination clinic hosted at the school.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Hospital Association said that 94% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 did not get vaccinated against the virus as the group announced a new initiative to encourage more people to get the shots.

The organization is joining with other healthcare groups for an initiative called "We Can Do This Alabama" to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

The grassroots effort is asking Alabamians to sign up to be a local champion and encourage three new people each week to get vaccinated and to recruit others to do the same.

"This is a pivotal moment in ending the pandemic – getting Alabamians vaccinated as quickly as possible is the path out of this crisis," the Hospital Association said in a press release.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the vaccines are effective at preventing nearly all hospitalizations and deaths because of COVID-19. It takes two weeks after a vaccination for a person to build immunity and people are not fully vaccinated until two weeks after their final shot, the CDC cautions.

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