COVID-19 vaccinations increase in US, but unevenly

Vaccination rates for American adults continue to increase across the United States, but progress is uneven, with Southern states lagging.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mississippi and Alabama have the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with 31.8% and 33.9% of the adult population vaccinated, respectively. Maine has the highest vaccination rate, with 60.8%.

California, New York, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, and Minnesota have all passed the 50% mark in recent days, the paper reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker shows 361,250,445 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the US, and 290,724,607 have been administered, with 132,769,894 Americans fully vaccinated.

Encouraging vaccine attitudes

The latest poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) shows steady progress in vaccine uptake, with 62% of US adults saying they've gotten at least one shot, up from 56% in April. The share of people saying they will "wait and see" fell from 15% to 12%. 

The poll suggests President Biden's goal of having 70% of all eligible Americans receive at least one dose of vaccine by July 4 could be attainable.

"The overall adult vaccination rates could reach 70% over the next several months, with 4% saying they want the vaccine as soon as possible and about a third of the 'wait and see group' (or 4% of all adults) saying they have already scheduled an appointment or plan to get the vaccine in the next 3 months," KFF said.

One third (32%) of unvaccinated adults said formal Food and Drug Administration approval of the vaccines would make them more likely to get vaccinated, and 21% of unvaccinated employed poll respondents said they would be more inclined to do so if their employer gave them paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from side effects.

The percentage of poll respondents saying they will get vaccinated "only if required" (7%) or will "definitely not" get a vaccine (13%) have not changed over the last several months.

In related news, California is joining the ranks of New York, Colorado, Ohio, and Oregon in giving away cash prizes to incentivize vaccination. Officials announced yesterday that the state will distribute $116 million in prizes in an effort to get more people vaccinated before the June 15 elimination of nearly all COVID-19 restrictions, according to KQED.

California's prizes are the biggest offered in the country: Any resident 12 and older with at least one shot is automatically entered to win one of 30 $50,000 cash prize drawings on June 4 and June 11. On June 15, $1.5 million will go to each of 10 winners. And beginning next week, the next 2 million Californians who complete their vaccinations will get $50 gift cards.

Models predict drop in cases

The latest models published by the CDC predict that the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases will likely decrease over the next 4 weeks, with 38,000 to 241,000 new cases likely reported in the week ending June 19, 2021.

Yesterday the United States reported 27,525 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 1,338 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

Other US developments

  • Idaho's lieutenant governor yesterday issued an executive order banning mask mandates while the state's governor was out of the state at a conference, the New York Times reported today.

  • The AARP reports that more nursing home chains are mandating vaccination for employees.

  • The CDC said today that most youth campers do not have to wear masks when outdoors during summer camps. Under the guidelines, vaccinated adolescents can ditch masks completely, and younger unvaccinated children do not need to wear masks outside.

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