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The number of rural residents who have been completely vaccinated against Covid-19 broke 18 million last week, despite a slight decline in the number of new immunizations that were completed.

As of September 9, nearly 18.2 million rural Americans had completed their vaccination regimen. That equates to about 39.6% of the total rural population, according to a Daily Yonder analysis.

In the nation’s metropolitan counties, the completed vaccination rate is 51.4% of the total population. That’s 11.8 percentage points higher than the rural (or nonmetropolitan) rate.

Nearly 300,000 rural residents completed their vaccinations last week, compared to about 318,000 two weeks ago. That’s a decline of about 6%. In metropolitan counties, new vaccinations declined by 14%.

New vaccinations completed in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties in one-week increments. The number of completed vaccinations fell about 6% last week. Metro counties saw a decline of 14% last week compared to two weeks ago. (Daily Yonder graphic. Data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and departments of health of Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Texas)

More than a third of the nation’s 1,976 nonmetropolitan counties completed more vaccinations last week than they did two weeks ago. In metropolitan counties, about a quarter of all counties completed vaccinations at a higher rate than two weeks ago.

States that had the largest percentage-point increase in rural vaccinations were a mixture of the best and worst in rural vaccination rates.

Mississippi had the largest percentage-point increase in rural vaccinations last week. The state completed vaccinations for 1.8% of its 1.6 million rural residents last week. That translates to 27,782 newly completed vaccinations -- a third higher than the pace of new vaccinations two weeks ago. Mississippi ranks 31st nationally for its statewide rural vaccination rate, which is 37.9%.

Louisiana, which ranks 42nd in rural vaccinations, increased its rural vaccination rate by 1.3 percentage points last week. That state’s rural rate of vaccination is 32.8%.

Arkansas, which ranks 35th, increased its rural vaccination rate by 1.1 percentage points, to 36.4%

Arizona also increased its rural vaccination rate by 1.1 percentage points. Arizona has the nation’s fourth-highest rural vaccination rate – 60%. (The top three states for rural vaccinations are Massachusetts, 70.2%; Connecticut, 66%; and Hawaii, 61.4%.)

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