Key findings:

  • Of the country’s total population, the national average for administered COVID-19 vaccines is 3.5%.
  • West Virginia administered the highest rate of vaccines at 7.5%.
  • West Virginia, Alaska and South Dakota have the highest rates of administered vaccines.
  • Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina have the lowest rates of vaccinated residents.
  • As of the first week of January 2021, only 9 million have been vaccinated.
  • In the U.S., around 202 million unique persons need to be vaccinated in Phases 1a, 1b and 1c, and around 126 million (All remaining) in Phase 2.

As thousands of Americans continue to die each day from complications with COVID-19, state and national governments are carrying out their vaccination plans urgently. In order to distribute the vaccines effectively and efficiently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established priority groups for Phases 1a,1b,1c and 2. It was initially estimated that around 20 million doses would be distributed and administered to Americans by the end of December under Operation Warp Speed. According to the CDC, however, only about 2.6 million were vaccinated in December, and nearly 9 million have received vaccinations as of early last week.

The CDC is also reminding us that governors and state jurisdictions will ultimately decide who will receive vaccines. Some states have even said that they will have their own experts evaluate any FDA-approved vaccine before distributing it statewide. Each state has provided the CDC with their own vaccination plans for review. When constructing the plans, they were asked to consider the following:

  • Public health preparedness planning
  • Phased approaches to vaccination
  • Identification of critical populations
  • Provider recruitment and enrollment
  • Capacity to administer
  • Vaccine storage and handling

Why have some states been more successful than others?

Of its total population, West Virginia administered the greatest number of vaccines at 7.5 percent (as of Tuesday, January 19), and that rate is increasing daily. The reason for their success can be attributed to the state's vaccination program aimed at long-term care facilities affected the most. Vaccinations started being distributed throughout the state by the National Guard and offered at local pharmacies. This allowed the state to get a lead in vaccination rates, since they began distributing before the federal program by the CDC had officially started. Local vaccination sites can now be found throughout the state and are currently open to those 80 years or older, K-12 teachers and school staff who are 50 or older.

On the other hand, states like Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina have very low vaccination rates, with only about 2% of their respective total populations vaccinated. Some of these distribution flaws are thought to be due to misinformation, crashing of websites and poor time windows. Many states' health care systems are overwhelmed, causing more difficulties in administration of the vaccines. States are having to get creative in establishing large enough areas where many people can receive the vaccine safely at the same time.

Establishing priority groups

In a previous analysis, QuoteWizard looked at Ariadne Labs and Surgo Foundation vaccine allocation data to see which states had the highest rates of high-priority groups among the population. We found that New York, Massachusetts and South Dakota had the largest groups of Phase 1 “high-priority” individuals — over 8% of their respective populations. New York, one of the states hit hardest in 2020, distributed 1,884,325 vaccines. Of those vaccines, the state has only administered 757,466 of the total vaccines distributed so far. (40.2%).

According to The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the CDC, updates to the phases of vaccine distribution are as follows:

top states administering vaccine

Children were initially included in Phase 2, but the ACIP would prefer to wait until clinical trials have proven safe on children 16 years and younger before recommending its administration publically. Moderna, whose clinical trials for children started four weeks ago, is expecting to have a vaccine suitable for children by 2022. Once 202 million unique persons in priority groups 1 a, b and c are completely vaccinated, the goal is to move forward with those in Phase 2, which would be around 126 million Americans. We have a long way to go, but the administration of vaccines has, in fact, begun.

Methodology:

To determine the states that have the highest rates of vaccine administration, QuoteWizard analyzed the CDC COVID Data Tracker. The rank is based on states that have the highest rates of vaccine inoculation relative to their state populations as of January 19, 2020. States that have administered the highest rates of vaccines compared to their total state populations are ranked closer to 1, and states with lower coronavirus vaccination rates closer to 50. Associated in the table but not used in the ranking is the number of vaccines distributed and administered in each state, and their administration rates relative to the total number of available vaccines distributed.

Best and worst states at vaccinating their residents against COVID-19

Rank State Total Doses Distributed Total Doses Administered Administered vaccines (%) State Population Administered (%)
1 West Virginia 205,475 134,207 65.3% 7.5%
2 Alaska 150,450 49,039 32.6% 6.7%
3 South Dakota 93,675 57,103 61.0% 6.5%
4 North Dakota 68,675 46,410 67.6% 6.1%
5 Connecticut 328,775 185,866 56.5% 5.2%
6 Vermont 74,000 32,470 43.9% 5.2%
7 Oklahoma 424,000 203,410 48.0% 5.1%
8 New Mexico 204,750 99,305 48.5% 4.7%
9 Colorado 531,775 272,233 51.2% 4.7%
10 Nebraska 211,500 91,195 43.1% 4.7%
11 Montana 98,500 49,364 50.1% 4.6%
12 New Hampshire 127,225 62,517 49.1% 4.6%
13 Maine 136,875 61,129 44.7% 4.5%
14 Rhode Island 108,425 47,548 43.9% 4.5%
15 Tennessee 657,550 303,338 46.1% 4.4%
16 Louisiana 370,175 197,967 53.5% 4.3%
17 Texas 2,105,600 1,160,242 55.1% 4.0%
18 Utah 268,175 128,210 47.8% 4.0%
19 Florida 2,069,175 853,081 41.2% 4.0%
20 Wyoming 58,775 22,745 38.7% 3.9%
21 Arkansas 297,800 118,338 39.7% 3.9%
22 Kentucky 337,450 174,748 51.8% 3.9%
23 New York 1,884,325 757,466 40.2% 3.9%
24 Indiana 642,425 260,310 40.5% 3.9%
25 Iowa 269,000 120,983 45.0% 3.8%
26 Massachusetts 669,325 257,175 38.4% 3.7%
27 Michigan 773,750 364,182 47.1% 3.6%
28 New Jersey 658,800 317,070 48.1% 3.6%
29 Minnesota 519,600 198,253 38.2% 3.5%
30 Pennsylvania 1,075,350 448,151 41.7% 3.5%
31 Oregon 335,075 146,153 43.6% 3.5%
32 Illinois 1,011,225 437,765 43.3% 3.5%
33 Kansas 263,175 97,779 37.2% 3.4%
34 Hawaii 154,150 46,958 30.5% 3.3%
35 Maryland 565,125 194,705 34.5% 3.2%
36 Ohio 968,250 375,428 38.8% 3.2%
37 Delaware 91,250 31,090 34.1% 3.2%
38 Washington 696,175 242,606 34.8% 3.2%
39 Missouri 528,800 190,447 36.0% 3.1%
40 Wisconsin 437,900 169,803 38.8% 2.9%
41 North Carolina 999,650 302,824 30.3% 2.9%
42 Virginia 852,725 244,234 28.6% 2.9%
43 Mississippi 233,550 84,328 36.1% 2.8%
44 Nevada 211,750 83,674 39.5% 2.7%
45 California 3,548,575 1,072,959 30.2% 2.7%
46 Arizona 571,725 197,086 34.5% 2.7%
47 Idaho 160,075 46,636 29.1% 2.6%
48 South Carolina 350,550 121,836 34.8% 2.4%
49 Georgia 1,011,200 231,305 22.9% 2.2%
50 Alabama 444,650 100,567 22.6% 2.1%
-- United States 28,856,950 11,492,238 39.8% 3.5%