Taking Your Best Shot: Vaccine Progress by State
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the ultimate hope for halting the uncontrolled spread of the virus has been development and wide availability of an effective vaccine. The Trump administration launched Operation Warp Speed, beginning in May 2020, a public-private partnership aimed at rapid development of effective vaccines and broad implementation of other therapeutic and diagnostic resources. The Biden administration has continued the effort—after announcing plans to change the name—with a goal of distributing 100 million doses of the vaccine during President Biden’s first 100 days in office.
At this point, two vaccines have been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): one developed by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer in partnership with German drugmaker BioNTech, and another manufactured by Massachusetts-based Moderna. Three other vaccines are in advanced clinical trials; these are coming from AstraZeneca, Janssen, and Novavax. If approved for use by the FDA, these three vaccines will be added to the mass vaccination effort.
Currently, each state is in charge of distributing the vaccines to its citizens. As doses become available, they are allocated according to an order of priority developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The first to receive the vaccine (“Phase 1A”) are frontline healthcare workers, followed by residents of long-term care facilities (primarily older individuals). After that, Phase 1B includes, according to the CDC, “frontline essential workers such as fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers), and people aged 75 years and older. The next phase, 1C, includes those aged 65–74, those aged 16–64 with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk of serious complications from COVID-19, and essential workers in “transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.”
Progress in the vaccination effort varies by state. In terms of raw numbers of vaccinations completed, the most populous states are in the lead: Texas, California, and New York. But in order of the percentage of the population vaccinated, the leaders are West Virginia (7.49%), South Dakota (6.49%), and North Dakota (6.09%). States lagging in the effort include Mississippi (2.83%), North Carolina (2.89%), and Wisconsin (2.92%). To see how your state is progressing in the vaccination effort—or if you want to check on how other countries are doing—you can go to this website: Our World in Data.
To find out where you can get vaccinated, your best bet is probably to stay tuned to local health departments and related news sources. Alternatively, you can get information from your state’s public health department. Especially if you or someone you love can be included in Phase 1A, 1B, or 1C, it’s a good idea to stay informed. Some public health departments offer online registration in order to receive an appointment for a vaccination.
In the meantime, we sincerely hope you and your family are staying safe and exercising precautions appropriate for you based upon your overall risk for contracting Covid-19. The good news is that the end of the pandemic will end and the virus will be defeated.