The United States is seeing record daily COVID-19 cases in what could be considered the second wave of the virus. Record-breaking daily cases are met with hopes that a vaccine could soon be ready for deployment to slow the spread of the virus. There have been positive vaccine trials in the news that bring elevated hopes for a vaccine to be available in the coming weeks. Both Pfizer and Moderna have posted over 90% effective rates in their most recent trials. Each of the pharmaceutical companies has applied for emergency FDA authorization, which upon approval could immediately release vaccines to use. Many project the authorizations to be approved and vaccines ready for distribution by mid- to late December.

Key findings:

  • The national average of American adults in 2019 with age-appropriate vaccinations was 40%.
  • A Gallup poll conducted in October 2020 found 42% would not take a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maryland had the highest rates of vaccinated adults in 2019. Nevada, Wyoming and Georgia had the lowest rates.
  • Wisconsin, Florida and Arizona saw the biggest increases in vaccinated adults from 2015 to 2019; 12 states saw decreases in vaccinated adults.
  • Age-appropriate vaccinations have increased nationally by an average of 5.3% from 2015 to 2019.
  • Nine of the top 10 states for vaccinated adults in 2019 saw increases in vaccination rates from 2015 to 2019.

Once vaccines are available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will almost certainly recommend that the 21 million health care workers take priority over anyone else. Then vaccine priority will likely then move towards the elderly and essential workers. As the broader rollout of the vaccine begins, the CDC along with state-level health experts will determine an order of priority for who is eligible to receive the vaccine. It’s estimated that after priority groups are given access first, the general public should have access to the vaccine by May 2021 at the earliest. But once available to the majority of Americans, how many people will actually get the vaccine?

How many people will adopt a COVID-19 vaccine?

If pharmaceutical companies are able to supply every single American with a vaccine, it’s almost certain to not have a 100% adoption rate. What could determine the adoption rate with the general public is their willingness to receive the vaccine and their health care access to receive it. With adoption rates unknown, we here at QuoteWizard analyzed adult age-appropriate vaccination rates along with public opinion and access to health care to predict how widely adopted a COVID-19 vaccine will be.

Speculation of vaccinations among Americans is nothing new. A Gallup poll from 1954 asked adults whether they would get the Polio vaccine. Sixty percent responded yes and 31% said no. Flashforward to today, when asked if adults would get the COVID-19 vaccine, 58% responded yes and 42% responded no. With nearly half of Americans unwilling, there’s concern that a vaccine might not effectively reduce the spread of the virus initially. Of those that stated they would not get the COVID-19 vaccination, the majority were in a wait-and-see category. A combination of concern for the rushed timeline for vaccine development and the desire to see confirmation of the vaccine’s effectiveness were among the top reasons Americans said they would not receive the vaccination. And around 10% of Americans cited politicization of the vaccine and a general distrust in vaccinations as reasons for not getting the vaccine.

What may present the greatest challenge to the vaccine’s adoption rate is people’s access to health care to receive the vaccination. While the nationwide push to distribute the vaccine is going to be on a scale like never seen before, many will likely face health care barriers to receive the vaccine. To estimate the adoption of the COVID-19 vaccination, we looked at adult age-appropriate vaccination rates across the country to see where vaccination rates are highest. According to vaccination data compiled by the Commonwealth Fund, only 40% of adults have age-appropriate vaccinations. While many adult vaccinations are optional, a rate of only 40% among adults presents health care challenges to increasing vaccine adoption.

Current vaccination rates could predict COVID-19 vaccine adoption

Since 2015, the adult vaccination rate has increased by 5.3% but is still nominal in the larger picture. A QuoteWizard study that evaluated overall access to health care in each state compared with adult vaccination rates found a correlation between vaccinations and access to health care. States with better access to health care also had the highest vaccinations rates. The same is true for states with lower vaccination rates and poor access to health care. States like Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland all rated highly in vaccination rates and access to health care. Conversely, Nevada, Georgia and Florida all rated poorly in vaccination rates and access to health care.

Access to health care is going to be a critical piece for the general public's adoption of the vaccine. Even with an unprecedented push for people to receive the vaccine, a lack of access to traditional health care and infrastructure in some states could prevent widespread adoption. People without a regular doctor or place of health care could struggle to receive the vaccine. With a national average of 40% for the adult vaccination rate and another 42% of Gallup responders indicating they wouldn’t get the vaccine, a large portion of the population could present a hurdle in the adoption of the COVID-19 vaccination. Despite the estimation of a vaccine being ready to the general public by May, the continued distribution and low adoption rates could prolong the slowing of COVID-19 cases.

States with the highest percentages of adults with age-appropriate vaccines
Rank State 2019 Adult Vaccine (%) 2015 Adults Vaccine (%) % Change
1 Massachusetts 48 42 14.29%
2 Rhode Island 48 46 4.35%
3 Maryland 47 41 14.63%
4 Connecticut 47 43 9.30%
5 Nebraska 47 45 4.44%
6 North Carolina 47 45 4.44%
7 Virginia 46 42 9.52%
8 Washington 46 42 9.52%
9 New Hampshire 46 44 4.55%
10 Iowa 46 47 -2.13%
11 South Dakota 46 51 -9.80%
12 Pennsylvania 45 41 9.76%
13 North Dakota 45 42 7.14%
14 Vermont 45 42 7.14%
15 Colorado 45 43 4.65%
16 Wisconsin 44 36 22.22%
17 Kansas 44 41 7.32%
18 Maine 44 41 7.32%
19 Missouri 43 43 0.00%
20 Oklahoma 43 44 -2.27%
21 Minnesota 43 45 -4.44%
22 New York 42 40 5.00%
23 Delaware 42 43 -2.33%
24 West Virginia 42 44 -4.55%
25 Ohio 41 36 13.89%
26 Hawaii 41 38 7.89%
27 Montana 41 39 5.13%
28 Indiana 40 36 11.11%
29 South Carolina 40 37 8.11%
30 New Mexico 40 38 5.26%
31 Oregon 40 38 5.26%
32 Utah 40 38 5.26%
33 Arkansas 40 40 0.00%
34 Kentucky 40 43 -6.98%
35 California 39 35 11.43%
36 Alabama 39 38 2.63%
37 Tennessee 39 40 -2.50%
38 Michigan 38 34 11.76%
39 Texas 38 41 -7.32%
40 Arizona 37 32 15.63%
41 Illinois 37 35 5.71%
42 New Jersey 37 37 0.00%
43 Mississippi 37 38 -2.63%
44 Idaho 36 33 9.09%
45 Alaska 36 34 5.88%
46 Louisiana 36 37 -2.70%
47 Florida 34 29 17.24%
48 Georgia 34 34 0.00%
49 Wyoming 34 34 0.00%
50 Nevada 30 31 -3.23%
  US Average 40 38 5.26%


To get rankings, QuoteWizard analyzed the Commonwealth Fund’s Health System Data on adults with age-appropriate vaccinations. Our final ranking is based on states that had the highest percentages of vaccinated adults in 2019. States with the highest percentages of adults with age-appropriate vaccines were ranked 1 to 50. Also included is the rate change over a five-year period from 2015 to 2019 for each state.

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