OutbreakCoronavirus, COVID-19 and Chicago

Vaccination Rollout Not Quickest in States with Highest Cases

By Laura Herbert |  @RedLineProject | Posted: Sunday, March 21, 2021

With three approved vaccines now available for distribution, states are moving into new phases of their respective COVID-19 vaccine roll-outs. Despite the increased available doses, however, states are vaccinating at starkly different rates, and it doesn’t follow a pattern of places where the situation is more dire.

It’s important to note that states are not given vaccine allotments according to case counts, but instead according to states’ populations of adults. Why some states — notably Alaska, New Mexico and South Dakota — have better distributed their allocations than others is the question.

Factors like eligibility may play some part, as not all states have similar plans as to who is able to get vaccinated first. But in New Mexico — the state with the highest rate of vaccinated adults (37.5%) — the age of eligibility for people with no underlying conditions is the highest in the country at 75.

Alaska — ranked second in terms of adult vaccination rates — has taken a different approach: anyone over the age of 16 is able to get a vaccine.

Both North and South Dakota have high case rates (first and second, respectively) as well as high vaccination rates. In Tennessee, a considerable COVID-19 outbreak hasn’t helped push vaccine distribution; Tennessee’s vaccination rate among adults is the third lowest in the country.


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