Coronavirus US

US Coronavirus: States with highest and lowest population of vaccinated people

As the country seeks to navigate out of the pandemic we take a look at the numbers behind the huge vaccine rolllout.

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US Coronavirus: States with highest and lowest population of vaccinated people
Justin Tallis AFP

According to statistics published by John Hopkins University these are the five states with the highest and lowest rates of full vaccination, as of July 12 2021:

Top five states by fully vaccinated people

  • Vermont (60.26%)
  • Massachusetts (58.65%)
  • Connecticut (56.57%)
  • Rhode Island (55.54%)
  • Maine (54.96%)

Bottom five states by fully vaccinated people

  • Alabama (31.08%)
  • Mississippi (31.27%)
  • Arkansas (32.54%)
  • Wyoming (32.68%)
  • Louisiana (33.04%)

Overall vaccination of the whole US is 48.52%.

Why have these states got these vaccination rates?

One factor that correlates to a low vaccine take up is poverty. Of the five states with the lowest rates of vaccination, three of them, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, are in the top five states with the highest poverty rate according to the 2019 census data.

High rates of poverty mean a greater chance of poor access to medical services and of the states with the highest vaccination rates, three have poverty rates below the national average. The two outliers, Rhode Island and Maine, are extremely close to the national average.

Another factor is race. Despite making up 12.9% of the population, 8.9% of African-Americans are fully vaccinated. This is mirrored by Hispanic/Latino Americans where 15.2% are fully vaccinated out of 17.2% of the population. Although the differences between these numbers have tightened since March, the difference could help explain why some states have a low vaccination rate. Indeed, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have some of highest populations of people of colour in the country.

Is there a link between the race and poverty?

According to the latest census data, Hispanic and black Americans have twice the poverty rate of their white compatriots.

There is also a history of distrust between black Americans and the government, especially in terms of healthcare after the reveal of the Tuskegee experiment. Black Americans were deliberately not treated for syphilis for decades, despite being told they were being treated with free healthcare.

These problems make these groups much less likely to get vaccinated and are at greater risk from covid-19.

President Biden announced extra help in March for minorities and last week introduced a new 'door-to-door' vaccination strategy for poor communities.

Moreover, it is crucial that these states and communities are convinced to get the vaccine as the data shows black Americans are twice as likely to die after catching covid-19 and Hispanic Americans 2.3 times more likely to die. With these bottom five states having high numbers of ethnic minorities it is important that more vaccines are delivered and issued.