April 19, 2021 -- Half of adults in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 shot, marking a milestone in the country’s largest-ever vaccination campaign.
Nearly 130 million people ages 18 and older -- or 50.4% of the adult population in the U.S. -- have received at least one dose, according to the latest CDC tally updated on Sunday. About 84 million adults, or 32.5% of the adult population, are considered fully vaccinated.
In addition, 81% of adults ages 65 and older have received at least one dose, and 66% are considered fully vaccinated.
To boost the numbers higher, public health officials are working with community leaders and public influencers to encourage vaccination and address hesitancy among those who say they don’t plan to get an inoculation against the coronavirus.
“What we are doing is we’re trying to get, by a community core, trusted messages that anyone would feel comfortable with listening to, whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, an independent, or whomever you are, that you’re comfortable,” Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.
“They could be sports figures. They could be entertainers. They could be clergy,” Fauci said. “We want to go that way to get people to understand how important it is, not only for your own health, but also for the health of your family, and ultimately, for the health of the country.”
The U.S. has a vaccination rate of 61.6 doses administered per 100 people in the population, according to The Associated Press. Israel leads the world with a vaccination rate of 119.2. The U.S. trails the United Arab Emirates, Chile, and the U.K. in vaccination rates.
Within the U.S., vaccination rates vary by state and tend to be highest in areas with a history of voting Democratic, the AP reported. New Hampshire is at the top with a 71.1% vaccination rate, followed by Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Mexico. The states with the lowest vaccination rates -- Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi -- have vaccination rates lower than 40%.
There also appears to be a disparity in vaccination rates by gender, according to Kaiser Health News. About 60% of people who have been vaccinated are women. The gap seems to be shrinking slightly as vaccinations continue, the news outlet reported, but the difference is still significant.
After months of limited vaccine availability, every adult in the country is now eligible to sign up for vaccination, according to NPR. The remaining states with age restrictions -- Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont -- opened vaccine registration to all ages 16 and older on Monday, meeting a federal deadline to open eligibility by April 19.