There has been tremendous confusion recently about how many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available and when. Additionally, the delivery process has been so poorly designed in many states that they have either no vaccine or doses have been shipped to places where they cannot all be used quickly. President Biden has promised to step up supply to states, but it is not clear he can reach his goal to have 300 million doses to vaccinate all Americans by the “end of the summer, beginning of the fall.”
The efficiency with which the vaccination process has worked varies widely from state to state. As a benchmark, across the entire nation, 6% of people have gotten at least one dose. Over 44.3 million doses have been distributed. From those, 60% have been given.
The state that has the best record for giving at least one dose to its population is Alaska, where the number is 11.1%. Additionally, of the 162,925 doses distributed in the state, 60% have been given. By this second measure, it is not among the states with the best record. In North Dakota, 87% of the doses delivered have been given.
For a sense of how well Alaska has progressed, note that in the state with the worst performance, Missouri, only 4.4% of the residents have been given at least one dose.
Alaska stands out by another measure. With 53,487 confirmed cases, it ranks near the bottom of states, higher than only Vermont (11,285), Hawaii (25,903), Maine (37,708) and Wyoming (51,152). However, its case count should be small. It ranks 48th among all states based on population at 731,158. And it has the least dense population among all states, although as North and South Dakota have shown, that is no indication that the disease cannot be widespread and very deadly. Still, in Alaska, the fatal case count is low at 259.
Alaska has done so well for several reasons. According to the Anchorage Daily News, “For one, Alaska received a high number of doses through the Indian Health Service for distribution through tribal health organizations on faster distribution timelines.”
Regardless of the reasons, Alaska residents should consider themselves among the fortunate as COVID-19 spreads. It will take weeks for many other states to hit that milestone of the percentage of people given at least one dose of vaccine.