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The number of newly completed Covid-19 vaccinations in rural counties has declined for the third consecutive week.

Newly completed vaccinations fell by about 20% last week compared to two weeks ago. Rural (nonmetropolitan) counties reported 166,000 newly completed vaccinations the week of Friday, October 29, through Thursday, November 4, 2021. That’s down from about 207,000 two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the number of newly completed vaccinations in metropolitan counties grew by more than 15% last week compared to two weeks ago. Metropolitan counties reported 1.6 million newly completed Covid-19 vaccinations last week, compared to 1.4 million two weeks ago.

The rural vaccination rate rose by about 0.4 percentage points, while the metropolitan rate grew by about 0.6 percentage points.

The pace of new vaccinations in rural counties last week was the lowest since mid-August.

As of November 4, 44.5% of the rural population had fully completed Covid-19 vaccination. In metropolitan counties, the rate is 56.6%, or 12.1 percentage points higher.

The Daily Yonder’s analysis of Covid-19 vaccinations is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health departments of Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Texas.

  • Illinois had the highest increase in percentage of rural population vaccinated last week. But the growth of 2.9 percentage points (or about 43,000 completed vaccinations) was so high at least part of the growth is likely from administration changes in record-keeping.
  • Minnesota had the next highest increase in new rural vaccinations with an increase of 1.8 percentage points.
  • Utah, California, and Arizona all had an increase in rural vaccination rates of at least 0.5 percentage points.
  • West Virginia had the slowest rate of increase in rural vaccinations, at virtually zero percentage points (the state reported only 273 newly completed rural vaccinations). West Virginia has a high rate of unallocated vaccinations, which lack geographic information. Therefore the actual number of rural vaccinations could have been slightly higher.
  • Other states near the bottom in growth in rural vaccinations were Virginia, Michigan, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Alaska. Each of those states increased their rural vaccination rate by 0.2 percentage points.
  • Massachusetts had the highest rate of rural vaccinations. Seventy-three percent of the state’s rural population is completely vaccinated for Covid-19. Getting rural residents vaccinated in Massachusetts is a bit less complicated than in other parts of the U.S. The state has fewer than 100,000 residents who live in nonmetropolitan counties in the western part of the state.
  • Connecticut, another state with a small rural population, had the next highest rural vaccination rate at about 70%.
  • Hawaii, Arizona, Maine, and New Hampshire all had rural vaccination rates above 60%.
  • Georgia had the nation’s lowest rural vaccination rate (22.1% of the state’s rural population). A large number of unallocated vaccinations means the actual rate is slightly higher.
  • West Virginia had a rural vaccination rate of only 22.5% (but also had a high rate of unallocated vaccinations).
  • Next lowest were Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, Nebraska, and North Dakota.

This article defines rural as nonmetropolitan, using data from the 2013 Office of Management and Budget Metropolitan Statistical Area list.

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