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Mississippi-- Sitting Ducks If There's Another COVID Wave-- What About Your State?

poster by Chip Proser

The national COVID vaccination goal is to have at least 70% of the adult population on the way to being fully vaccinated by July 4th (in other words, with at least one dose). A dozen states have already passed that. Others won't get close. I'll tell you why it's important in a minute but these are the percentages of people (not just adults) of each state who were fully vaccinated as of this morning... along with the states' PVIs:

  • Vermont- 56.8% (D+15)

  • Maine- 55.2% (D+1)

  • Massachusetts- 54.3% (D+14)

  • Connecticut- 53.9% (D+7)

  • Rhode Island- 52.1% (D+8)

  • New Hampshire- 49.7% (even)

  • New Jersey- 49.4% (D+6)

  • Maryland- 48.5% (D+14)

  • New Mexico- 48.1% (D+3)

  • Hawaii- 47.9% (D+15)

  • New York- 47.3% (D+10)

  • Washington- 47.2% (D+8)

  • DC- 46.6%

  • Minnesota- 46.4% (D+1)

  • Oregon- 45.9% (D+6)

  • Colorado- 45.8% (D+3)

  • Virginia- 45.5% (D+2)

  • Wisconsin- 44.8% (R+2)

  • Iowa- 44.1% (R+6)

  • Pennsylvania- 44.0% (R+2)

  • Delaware- 43.6% (D+6)

  • California- 43.5% (D+14)

  • South Dakota- 42.6% (R+16)

  • Nebraska- 42.5% (R+13)

  • Michigan- 42.4% (R+1)

  • Ohio- 40.5% (R+6)

  • Illinois- 40.4% (D+7)

  • Alaska- 39.5% (R+9)

  • Florida- 39.4% (R+3)

  • Kentucky- 38.7% (R+16)

  • Kansas- 38.5% (R+11)

  • Montana- 38.4% (R+11)

  • Nevada- 37.2% (even)

  • North Dakota- 36.7% (R+20)

  • Arizona- 36.3% (R+3)

  • North Carolina- 36.3% (R+3)

  • Texas- 35.9% (R+5)

  • Indiana- 35.7% (R+11)

  • Missouri- 34.6% (R+11)

  • West Virginia- 34.2% (R+23)

  • South Carolina- 34.0% (R+8)

  • Oklahoma- 33.9% (R+20)

  • Idaho- 33.0% (R+19)

  • Utah- 32.5% (R+13)

  • Georgia- 32.1% (R+3)

  • Tennessee- 32.0% (R+14)

  • Wyoming- 32.0% (R+26)

  • Arkansas- 31.4% (R+16)

  • Louisiana- 31.4% (R+12)

  • Alabama- 29.3% (R+15)

  • Mississippi- 27.6% (R+10)

Today the NY Times ran a piece with estimates of how long it would take states to reach the 70% of adults vaccinated with at least one shot. First the good news: Washington, New York, DC, Illinois, Virginia and Delaware are all within 2 weeks of the goal. And the bad news: It will take Alabama and Mississippi over a year, Wyoming 10 months, Louisiana 7 months and Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota half a year each. Dr. Marcus Plescia, the chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, which represents state health agencies told The Times that "You reach a certain rate nationally, which looks excellent and would really suggest that you are in a place to reduce the likelihood of infectious spread, but that can be misleading. You still have these significant pockets and states where the rates of immunity are much lower. So we could have another wave pop up."

162,560,820 adults (63%) have had at least one shot and 134,306,642 (52%) have been fully vaccinated.

So why is this important? CNN reported this morning that the National Institutes of Health warned that the states falling behind "may be vulnerable to another outbreak... [T]hey are sitting ducks for the next outbreak of Covid-19."

Biden's goal of 70% of adults having at least one vaccine dose has met a significant obstacle-- a dwindling number of people who want to get vaccinated.
The seven-day average of newly administered doses has fallen below 1 million per day for the first time since January, according to data from the CDC.
The director of the CDC said that there is no magic target for herd immunity, but that she thinks getting to 70% would go a long way toward protecting the community.
"We have pockets of this country that have lower rates of vaccination," Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. "I worry that this virus is an opportunist and that where we have low rates of vaccination are where we may see it again. And so really the issue now is to make sure we get to those communities as well."
Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wyoming are among the states with the lowest vaccination rates.
And for those who feel they don't need the protection of the vaccine, Collins said to think of getting doses as a "donation" to those in communities who-- for reasons like chemotherapy and organ transplants-- aren't necessarily protected against Covid-19 by vaccinations.
The big challenge for officials is reaching people who are not eager to get the vaccine.
"We're making a lot of progress, but frankly, we're entering kind of the slog-phase of the vaccination campaign, where the people who are most eager to have it and most able to get it, have gotten it," former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
"Now we need to continue to make it easier to get and to address people's concerns," he said, adding that the vaccine is "astonishingly effective and very, very safe."
In an effort to increase convenience for younger residents, New York City officials will park mobile vaccine buses outside popular nightlife destinations, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
In addition to access and education improvement, more companies and officials are offering incentives to sign up for inoculation.
Kroger Health announced Thursday that it is launching a $5 million #CommunityImmunity giveaway to motivate more people to get the vaccine.
Between June 3 and July 10, Kroger Health will give $1 million to a winner each week for five weeks as well as 50 "groceries for a year" prizes, a release from the company said.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced the "Shots of a Lifetime" giveaway series to incentivize vaccinations in the state.
Awards will include cash prizes totaling $2 million, tuition and expense assistance for higher education, sports tickets and gear, gift cards, airline tickets as well as game systems and smart speakers, he said.
"We're making this investment today because we know every life in the state of Washington has value," said Inslee. "I'm excited to announce these strong incentives that will bring the potential to save thousands of lives."
Meanwhile, Walensky expressed a particular concern about vaccinating young people, citing a rise in the number of young people hospitalized this spring which should "force us to redouble our efforts."
"I want to highlight a specific population that we were hoping will join the tens of millions who have already been vaccinated -- and that is adolescents," Walensky said on Thursday. In May, the US Food and Drug Administration expanded its authorization of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to include the younger ages of 12 to 15.
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