As the United States gets hit with mutations of COVID-19 that have entered the country from South Africa, Brazil and the United Kingdom, the race to vaccinate America has become even more essential. Each of these appears to spread more quickly than the strain that has infected Americans for months. And, one of these could be more deadly. The progress of the disease has slowed many places in the U.S. The rise in confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and fatal cases has slowed. However, deaths have reached 463,090 and confirmed cases 27,054,709. The anxiety is that the fatal cases count could still reach 600,000 by the summer.
The rate at which people have been vaccinated state by state varies widely. Across the nation, 59,304,600 doses have been distributed. Of these, 39,037,964 have been given. In total, 9.1% of Americans have been given at least one dose.
The rate at which people have been vaccinated varies considerably from state to state. In the state that has done the most poorly–Iowa–the percent of people who have received at least one dose is only 7.1% of the population
The state with by far the best record is Alaska where 14% of people have been given at least one dose. Oddly, 248,500 have been delivered and only 139,147 given, for a ratio of 56% which is below the national average of 56%.
Alaskans have been fortunate in another way. It is the seventh-lowest state based on confirmed cases at 55,259. The fatal case count is 277. Alaska is not broken into counties as is the tradition among most states. Some of the places with the smallest populations are designated “areas” and others “boroughs”. In several of these, confirmed cases are under 400. In the Lake and Peninsula Borough in the southwest part of the state, there have been only 5 confirmed cases.
Alaska Public Media, part of PBS, recently reported comments from Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer:
“First, she credited Alaska’s communities for working together to get people vaccinated quickly. Second, she said Alaska is getting more doses of the vaccine because of additional allotments for the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service.”
Alaska has high veteran per capita and Native American per capita populations.
Based on these anomalies, Alaska’s vaccination rates are likely to stay in the vanguard, among all states.
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