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Rural counties completed an additional 425,000 Covid-19 vaccinations last week, bringing the total number of rural vaccinations to about 15 million, or about a third of the nonmetropolitan population.

The percentage of rural residents who are completely vaccinated grew by about a percentage point last week, reaching 32.6% of the nation’s 46 million nonmetropolitan residents.

The metropolitan rate of completed vaccinations grew by 1.6 percentage points during the same period and now stands at 41.7%.

The means the gap between the rural and metropolitan vaccinations rates expanded last week and now stands at a 9.1 percentage point difference. The gap narrowed slightly two weeks ago after the Daily Yonder added state data from Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Texas to our weekly analysis.

This week’s analysis, based on data from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention and selected state health departments (Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Texas), covers June 8-14.

Rural vaccination rates varied broadly across the U.S.:

New England remains the best performing region in rural vaccinations, according to the Daily Yonder’s analysis.

  • Massachusetts had the highest rate of completed rural vaccinations, at 61%, a 2.4 point increase from two weeks ago. Nonmetropolitan residents number only 99,000, only 1.4% of the statewide population.
  • Connecticut, where only 5% of the population is nonmetropolitan, had the next highest rural vaccination rate, at 57.1%. That’s an increase of 2.4 percentage points from last week.
  • New Hampshire reported that 53.7% of its rural population was fully vaccinated, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from two weeks ago. Rural residents constitute more than a third of the state’s population.
  • Maine had the next highest rural vaccination rate, with 51.7% of the state’s half million residents fully vaccinated. That’s also a 1.9 percentage point increase from two weeks ago.
  • Hawaii ranked fifth in rural vaccinations, with 47.9%, an increase of 1.6 percentage points from two weeks ago.

The 10 worst performing states for rural vaccinations were all in the South.

  • Georgia, which has the nation’s lowest rural vaccination rate, has fully vaccinated only 11.7% of its rural residents. That rate is up only 0.1 percentage points from two weeks ago. Some of that poor performance may be mitigated by “unallocated” vaccinations, which are recorded at the state level but not assigned to specific counties.
  • Virginia has fully vaccinated only 17.2% of rural residents, although a quarter of the state’s population has been vaccinated but not allocated to specific counties.
  • West Virginia recorded a rural vaccination rate of only 18%, but that figure does not include the 16% of the state’s population that has been vaccinated but is unallocated to specific counties.
  • Other states in the bottom 10 for rural vaccinations were Alabama (24.3%), Louisiana (24.6%), Missouri (25.4%), Mississippi (26.6%), Tennessee (27.1%), Arkansas (27.2%), and Florida (28.1%). The percentage of unallocated vaccinations were relatively low in these states, meaning the actual rural vaccination isn’t likely to be much higher than the recorded levels.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article contained incorrect data because we mismatched Texas health department vaccination reports from four Texas counties, Deaf Smith, Delta, Denton, and DeWitt. A total of 424,783 additional people in rural counties completed their vaccinations from June 8-14, not 450,000. The rural completed vaccination rate was 32.6%, not 33.2%. The metropolitan vaccination rate was 41.7%, not 41.5%. The gap between the rural and metro vaccination rates was 9.1 percentage points, not 8.1. The maps and graphs have been corrected to reflect these changes. The Daily Yonder regrets the errors.

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