(NBC NEWS) Former President Donald Trump was booed at a rally Saturday in Alabama after he told supporters they should get vaccinated.
"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."
Some boos rang out from the crowd, who were largely maskless.
"No, that's OK. That's all right. You got your freedoms," Trump said, echoing rhetoric from opponents of mask and vaccination mandates. "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."
Covid cases and hospitalizations are surging in large parts of the South because of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. Cullman, where the rally was hosted, is experiencing a rise in cases that has matched its previous peak from late December. The city declared a Covid state of emergency Thursday to provide extra emergency support for the rally.
Alabama has the lowest vaccination rate in the U.S., with just more than 36 percent of its population having been fully inoculated, according to an NBC News tracker. Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, has said "the unvaccinated folks" are to blame for Covid's resurgence in the state.