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The pace of new Covid-19 vaccinations in rural America dropped slightly for the second week in a row.

Rural counties reported about 207,000 people completed their vaccination regimen last week. That’s down about 10% from the previous week’s tally of 229,000.

The pace of new rural vaccinations is less than half the rate it was in mid-September, when rural counties reported nearly 450,000 newly completed vaccinations.

While new rural vaccinations declined last week, metropolitan counties reported a 4% increase in newly completed vaccinations. Approximately 1,371,000 new vaccinations were completed in metropolitan counties last week.

The rural vaccination rate grew by 0.4 percentage points last week and now stands at 44.1% of the total rural population of about 46 million. (This article defines rural as counties that are nonmetropolitan, or ones that lie outside the Office of Management and Budget’s 2013 list of Metropolitan Statistical Areas.)

Metropolitan counties had a completed vaccination rate of 56.0% of total population, leaving the metropolitan rate 11.9 percentage points higher than the rural rate.

Gains over the Last Week

  • New Mexico had the largest increase in the percent of its rural population that is vaccinated. But most of the 4 percentage-point gain came from administrative changes in how previous vaccinations were categorized, not from new vaccinations.
  • Oklahoma, where only 40% of the rural population is fully vaccinated, had the next highest one-week percentage-point growth in rural vaccinations, at 0.7.
  • Arizona had the next highest percentage-point gain rural vaccinations, at 0.6.
  • Georgia also had a 0.6 percentage-point gain in rural vaccinations, as did Minnesota and Colorado.
  • Ten states had a gain of 0.5 percentage points in their rural vaccination rates. These were South Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, Hawaii, Oregon, Kansas, and Montana.
  • States with the lowest percentage-point increase in their rural populations were Illinois, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Indiana, Missouri, and Massachusetts. All those states except New Hampshire and Massachusetts have rural vaccination rates below the national average.
  • In raw numbers of new rural vaccinations, Texas led the way with 13,700. Georgia was second with 10,300; North Carolina, third, with 9,800; Oklahoma, fourth, with 8,900; and Kentucky, fifth, with 7,900.

Rural Performers

  • Only four states have rural vaccination rates that are higher than their metropolitan rates. These are Arizona, where 64% of the rural population has been fully vaccinated, versus 51% of the metro population; New Hampshire, 61% vs. 58%; Alaska, 55% vs. 50%; and Massachusetts, 73% vs. 66%.
  • Massachusetts had the highest rural vaccination rate, followed by Connecticut, Hawaii, Arizona, Maine, and New Hampshire.

Rural Under-Performers

  • Georgia had the lowest rural vaccination rate in the U.S., at 21.7%. The state’s rural and metro vaccination rates are somewhat higher in reality because about 20% of the state’s population has been vaccinated but not allocated to specific counties.
  • West Virginia, which also has a high number of unallocated vaccinations, had the second lowest rural vaccination rate, at 22.5%.
  • Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Idaho all had rural vaccination rates below 40%.