Special Report

COVID-19: States Doing the Best in the Race to Roll Out Vaccines

It has now been 10 weeks since the first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine were sent out to states, kicking off the largest vaccination campaign in human history. As of Feb. 24, 82,114,370 doses of the vaccine have been sent out across the country — equivalent to 25.1% of the U.S. population.

While the distribution of the vaccine is taking longer than initial federal projections had indicated, some states are faring far better than others. Under the current system, named Operation Warp Speed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sends states limited shipments of the vaccine as well as funding and tasks them with distributing the vaccine in accordance with relatively loose federal guidelines.

Each state has developed its own rollout plan, prioritizing different age groups and classes of essential workers. The mix of policies and logistical challenges across the country has led to wide variations between states in the percentage of vaccines that have been administered.

While nationwide 79.2% of distributed vaccine doses have been administered as of Feb. 24, in Montana 93.3% of vaccine doses have been administered — the largest share of any state. In Arkansas, 68.0% of vaccine doses have been administered, the smallest share of any state.

Differences in vaccine administration from state to state have also led to variations in the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated. In Alaska, the number of administered doses amounts to 32.5% of the population — greater than the national vaccination rate of 19.9% and the largest share of any state. In Alabama, the number of administered doses amounts to 16.7% of the population — the smallest share of any state.

While a majority of Americans remain unvaccinated due to a lack of supply, there are some who have no plans to receive a vaccine at all. According to a survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, 22.7% of U.S. adults 18 and over who have not yet received the vaccine will either probably not or definitely not get a COVID-19 vaccine in the future. The most common reason cited for not wanting a vaccine was being concerned about possible side effects. Other commonly cited reasons include that they were planning to wait and see if it is safe, that other people need it more right now, and not trusting COVID-19 vaccines.

To determine how states are doing with the vaccine rollout, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States were ranked based on the number of vaccines administered within a state as a percentage of the number of vaccines distributed to that state by the federal government as of Feb. 24. Data on confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Feb. 24 came from various state and local health departments and were adjusted for population using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. Data on the percentage of adults who probably or definitely will not get a COVID-19 vaccine and their reasons for not getting one came from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, conducted from Feb. 3, 2021 to Feb. 15, 2021.

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