Former President Donald Trump was booed during a rally in Alabama on Saturday after urging his supporters to get vaccinated, NBC News reports.
"And you know what? I believe totally in your freedoms. I do. You've got to do what you have to do," Trump said. "But I recommend, take the vaccines. I did it. It's good. Take the vaccines."
The largely maskless audience responded with a smattering of boos.
"No, that's OK. That's all right. You got your freedoms," Trump said. "But I happened to take the vaccine. If it doesn't work, you'll be the first to know. OK? I'll call up Alabama, I'll say, hey, you know what? But [the vaccine] is working. But you do have your freedoms you have to keep. You have to maintain that."
Alabama has a vaccination rate of just 35.9%, one of the lowest in the country and the state has long since run out of ICU beds amid a massive spike in hospitalizations.
"We've never been here before,” said Donald Williamson, the president of the Alabama Hospital Association. “We are truly now in uncharted territory in terms of our ICU bed capacity.”
GOP governor criticizes unvaccinated:
The rally came just days after Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey criticized unvaccinated residents for overwhelming hospitals.
"Folks are supposed to have common sense," Ivey told reporters. "But it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”
“Almost 100 percent of the new hospitalizations are with unvaccinated folks," she added. "And the deaths are certainly occurring with the unvaccinated folks. These folks are choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain.”
Republicans most vaccine hesitant:
A recent poll found that Republicans are among the most likely groups to refuse to be vaccinated.
The survey, which was conducted earlier this summer, found that only 52% of Republicans, 58% of white Evangelicals, and 54% of rural voters have been vaccinated, which is right around where young people aged 18-29 (55%) are.
By comparison, 86% of Democrats have been vaccinated.
The trend is more significant in certain states. In Texas, a poll this spring found that 61% of white Republicans and 59% of all Republicans are either hesitant or refusing to get the vaccine compared with 25% of Democrats.