Although New England states quickly gained ground vaccinating their residents against COVID-19 earlier this year, it’s not a U.S. state that currently has the highest vaccination rate in the country. It’s a popular travel destination in the Caribbean: Puerto Rico.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 73.2 percent of Puerto Rico’s population has been fully vaccinated as of October 24. That’s more than 2.3 million residents.
Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States.
Guam, an organized, unincorporated territory of the U.S. located in the western Pacific Ocean, is close behind at 72.7 percent.
The CDC also reports on the Republic of Palau, which is under a Compact of Free Association with the U.S. Only this western Pacific island has a higher rate than Puerto Rico: 82.7 percent, with nearly 16,000 residents fully vaccinated.
The CDC’s COVID Data Tracker counts people as being “fully vaccinated” if they received two doses on different days (regardless of time interval) of the two-dose mRNA series or received one dose of a single-dose vaccine.
States With The Highest COVID-19 Vaccination Rates
As far as states themselves go, here are the top 10 most vaccinated states, by percentage of fully vaccinated residents, as of October 24:
- Vermont: 70.9%
- Rhode Island: 70.4%
- Connecticut: 70.3%
- Maine: 70.1%
- Massachusetts: 69.3%
- New York: 66.1%
- New Jersey: 66%
- Maryland: 65.8%
- New Mexico: 65.6%
- Washington: 63%
States With Lowest COVID-19 Vaccination Rates
These states have the lowest percentage of fully vaccinated residents in the country:
- West Virginia: 41%
- Idaho: 43.4%
- Wyoming: 43.5%
- Alabama: 44.4%
- Mississippi: 45.3%
- North Dakota: 45.8%
- Tennessee: 47.3%
- Louisiana: 47.3% (tie)
- Georgia: 47.6%
- Arkansas: 47.6% (tie)
Puerto Rico Partnered With CDC To Get Shots In Arms
Puerto Rico has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 150,000 infections and 3,200 deaths among its population of approximately 3.2 million.
As vaccine approvals moved forward at the end of 2020, the CDC partnered with the Puerto Rico Department of Health to create an island-wide campaign to get residents vaccinated.
A team on the ground streamlined distribution channels, quickly increasing the number of medical providers who could give shots and mobilizing “non-traditional vaccine providers in rural areas,” reports the CDC.
In contrast to Puerto Rico’s 73.2% vaccination rate, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ rate of fully vaccinated residents is 46.4%.
Regarding the United States as a whole, 57.4% of the total population is fully vaccinated.