Story at a glance
- Nationally, slightly more than 48 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated, while nearly 56 percent have received at least one dose.
- Alabama, according to the data, has fully vaccinated the lowest percentage of its population.
- Five states’ vaccination rates are well above the national level, with Vermont leading the way at 66.5 percent.
New COVID-19 cases are rising as the highly infectious delta variant works its way through the U.S., challenging states and the federal government to find ways to stifle the spread.
Nationally, slightly more than 48 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated, while nearly 67 percent have received at least one dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An analysis of the data shows that five states' vaccination rates are well above the national level, with Vermont leading the way at 66.5 percent. Yet five states' vaccination rates sit far below the national average.
Five southern and Western states — Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Wyoming and Louisiana — have fully vaccinated fewer than 36 percent of their residents. Alabama, according to the data, has fully vaccinated the lowest percentage of its population. Arkansas and Louisiana are also among five states with the largest increase in cases over the past few weeks, according to The Associated Press (AP).
“Alabama is OPEN for business,” Gov. Kay Ivey said on Facebook in response to COVID-19 media reports. “Vaccines are readily available, and I encourage folks to get one. The state of emergency and health orders have expired. We are moving forward.”
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Mississippi and Arkansas’s vaccination rates are close behind Alabama with 33.4 and 34.9 percent respectively. Louisiana has fully vaccinated 35.8 percent of its population, edging out Wyoming by a 10th of a percentage point, the data shows.
The AP reported Wednesday that officials in Louisiana and Mississippi are continuing to recommend virus mitigation measures, including an effort in New Orleans to curb the spread at sporting events by requiring mask use and vaccinations.
White House chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci said last week that more than 99 percent of COVID-19 deaths in June were “entirely avoidable and preventable” with the widespread availability of vaccines.
“If you look at the number of deaths, about 99.2 percent of them are unvaccinated. About 0.8 percent are vaccinated. No vaccine is perfect. But when you talk about the avoidability of hospitalization and death...it's really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable,” Fauci told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“I mean, obviously there are going to be some people, because of the variability among people and their response to vaccine, that you'll see some who are vaccinated and still get into trouble and get hospitalized and die,” Fauci added. “But the overwhelming proportion of people who get into trouble are the unvaccinated. Which is the reason why we say this is really entirely avoidable and preventable.”
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