Special Report

States Getting the Most COVID-19 Vaccines From the Federal Government

It has now been 16 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 Apr. 4, 207,891,295 doses of the vaccine have been sent out across the country — equivalent to 63.3% 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. The initial distribution of the vaccine is based on the size of the adult population in every state, which — according to some experts — can create inequities in states where a larger share of the population is at risk.

At this stage of the vaccine rollout, distribution of the vaccine varies widely from state to state. While the CDC has so far sent out an average of 63,335.2 vaccine doses per 100,000 Americans, Alaska has received 87,030 doses per 100,000 residents — the most of any state. Meanwhile, Utah has received 54,068 doses per 100,000, the fewest of any state.

While the distribution of the vaccine is determined by a formula based on the size of the adult population in each state, smaller states have so far received an outsized allotment of doses. As of Apr. 4, the 10 smallest states have received an average of 69,782 doses of the vaccine per 100,000 residents. In comparison, the 10 largest states have received an average of 62,521 doses per 100,000 residents.

While the federal government distributes vaccines to states, it is up to state governments to administer the vaccine — creating variations in both the percentage of vaccines that have been administered and the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated. In Wisconsin, 92.4% of vaccine doses have been administered, the most of any state and far greater than the 79.4% national average. In Alabama, 64.3% of vaccine doses have been administered, the least of any state.

At this stage of the rollout, the number of doses administered in New Mexico is equivalent to 65.1% of the state population — the largest share of any state. The lowest vaccination rate is in Alabama, where 37.9% of residents have received a dose of the vaccine. Nationwide, the number of doses administered is equivalent to 50.3% of the U.S. population.

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, 26.3% 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 the states getting the most vaccines from the federal government, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States were ranked based on the number of vaccines administered as of Apr. 4 per 100,000 residents. Vaccine counts were adjusted for population using one-year data from the Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. Data on confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Apr. 4 came from various state and local health departments and were adjusted for population using 2018 ACS data. Data on the percentage of adults who probably will not 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 Mar. 3, 2021 to Mar. 15, 2021.