Big gaps in vaccine rates across the US worry health experts

A steady crowd of people flowed into the New England Patriots’ stadium for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week in Massachusetts, which is nearing its goal of vaccinating more than 4 million and plans to close its biggest clinics in little more than a month.

Meanwhile, in the Deep South, one of the largest clinics in Alabama shut down Wednesday and others will follow in the coming weeks because demand for the shot has plunged.

“They didn’t have long enough to test it,” said James Martin, 68, explaining why he has no plans to get the vaccine as he stopped for cigarettes at a convenience store in Clanton, Alabama. “They don’t know what the long-term effect is. That’s what makes me skeptical.”

A month after every adult in the U.S. became eligible for the vaccine, a distinct geographic pattern has emerged: The highest vaccination rates are concentrated in the Northeast, while the lowest ones are mostly in the South.

Experts say the gap reflects a multitude of factors, including political leanings, religious beliefs, and education and income levels.

Close to 160 million Americans — 48% of the population — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 125 million are fully vaccinated against the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New England and Northeastern states account for eight of the top 10 in vaccination rates, with Vermont No. 1 as of last Friday. Nearly 64% of its population has received as least one dose.

Following right behind are Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New Mexico, all of them at 54% or higher.

Eight Southern states are in the bottom 10, all of which are under 40%. Mississippi was dead last at 32%, followed by Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming, Idaho, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, West Virginia, and South Carolina.

Read more here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *