The pace of new Covid-19 vaccinations in rural counties faltered last week, as the troublesome Delta variant fueled a resurgence in new infections centered in Missouri and Florida, according to a Daily Yonder analysis.
About 151,000 additional rural residents completed a Covid-19 vaccination last week, about a third less than the rate of new vaccinations that occurred two weeks ago. The number of new vaccinations in metropolitan counties also declined last week.
As of July 22, 35.8% of the rural population was completely vaccinated for Covid-19. That’s an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the previous week. In mid-April, the rural vaccination rate was increasing by more than 2 percentage points a week.
The metropolitan rate of completed vaccinations stood at 46.8% of the population last week, an increase of 0.6 percentage points from two weeks ago.
The metropolitan vaccination rate is currently 11 percentage points higher than the nonmetropolitan vaccination rate.
This week’s analysis is based on data from Friday, July 16, through Thursday, July 22. Data is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, except for Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Texas, for which data is from state departments of health. (To download the data in any of our maps, graphs, or charts, click the "Get the data" link at the bottom of the notes beneath the graphic. You're welcome to use this data for your own purposes.)
Since starting to surge in Missouri about a month ago, higher rates of new cases have spread to Arkansas and Louisiana. All three states rank near the bottom of the U.S. in percent of rural population that is fully vaccinated (Missouri, 27.7%; Arkansas, 29.5%; and Louisiana, 27.1%.
To the north, Iowa, where the rural vaccination rate is 43.8%, has not seen a similar uptick in new infections.
Florida, which had the second highest rate of new rural infections last week, also had one of the nation’s lowest rural vaccination rates – 31%.
States with the highest rates of rural vaccinations were Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, and Arizona.
States that saw the greatest one-week percentage increase in rural vaccinations were Hawaii (up 0.7 percentage points) and Arizona (0.6 points). The next greatest increases were in New Mexico, Washington, Connecticut, and California (0.5 percentage points each).
Only four states had higher vaccinations in nonmetropolitan counties than in metropolitan ones. These were Arizona, Alaska, Massachusetts, New Hampshire.
Florida had the worst disparity between rural and metropolitan vaccination rates. The rural rate there was 17 points lower than the metropolitan rate. Nebraska was a close second, with a rural vaccination rate that was 16.7 percentage points lower than its metropolitan rate.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly reflect the percentage reduction in new vaccinations through July 22. An earlier version of this story said new vaccinations in rural America had decreased by about half. Because our last article covered a 10-day reporting reporting, the week-to-week reduction was 30%. We regret the error.