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Rural counties administered a larger number of new vaccinations last week than they did two weeks ago, raising the rate of fully vaccinated rural Americans by half a percentage point.

About 237,000 rural Americans completed their vaccination regimen last week, up from 172,000 the week before. That’s an increase of more than a third. In metropolitan counties last week, the number of new vaccinations grew by about a fourth.

Both rural and urban counties are administering more vaccines currently than they did during the second half of July. The increase in new vaccinations occurred after the Delta variant of the coronavirus began to spike new infections of Covid-19 around the country.

Despite the better performance in rural areas last week, the overall rural vaccination rate of 37.6% remains significantly lower than the metropolitan rate of 49.1%. (See graph above.)

The gap between the rural and metropolitan vaccination rates has grown modestly since the third week of June after more rapid increases in disparity earlier in the year. (See graph.)

This week’s Daily Yonder vaccination report covers Friday, August 13, to Thursday, August 19.

  • This week we looked more carefully at the increase in new vaccinations occurring in rural counties in the U.S. The map above shows the additional percentage of the rural population that was newly vaccinated last week.
  • Arizona, which already has one of the nation’s highest rural vaccination rates, vaccinated an additional 1.8% of its rural residents last week. That’s the highest percent increase in the U.S.
  • Arkansas and Louisiana were next best, each vaccinating an additional 1.1% of their rural populations last week. Those states have low rural vaccination rates (they rank 39th and 42nd in rural rates nationally) and have had some of the nation’s highest rates of new infections in recent weeks.
  • Other states in the top six for percentage-point increase in rural vaccination rates were California, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama. (Roll over the map for more data).
  • The increase in new vaccinations was widespread. Of the nation’s 1,976 nonmetropolitan counties, 1,450 (73%) had more vaccinations last week than they did two weeks ago. In metropolitan counties, 995 of 1,165 counties (85%) had higher numbers of vaccinations.
  • Massachusetts has the nation’s highest rural vaccination rate – 68.9%. The chart below contains a sortable list of state rural, metro, and statewide vaccination rates.

Data is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plus the state health departments of Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Texas.

The Daily Yonder computes vaccination rates by dividing the total number of vaccinated residents by the total size of the population. Only people 12 and older are eligible for vaccination. All rates represent completed vaccinations, not partial ones.

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