21 States Still Haven’t Hit Biden’s 70% Vaccination Goal—But Some Are Getting Closer

By Jemima McEvoy, Forbes Staff


Twenty-one states have yet to reach the goal President Biden set for the U.S.having 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated against Covid-19, even though the country surpassed the milestone in August—but an uptick in inoculations is bringing many places closer.

Volunteers and staffers knock on a door during an outreach effort to inform residents about an upcoming COVID-19 vaccination event, on June 30, 2021, in Birmingham, Alabama. - A black minority suspicious of vaccines in general, and conservative white rural people convinced that the vaccine is more dangerous than Covid-19: Alabama and several southern states in the United States have among the lowest vaccination rates, making this deprived region an Achilles heel in the face of the coronavirus. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage / AFP) (Photo by ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images) AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

Furthest from the target Biden initially set for Independence Day are West Virginia, Wyoming, Mississippi and Idaho, which have all partially vaccinated less than 60% of adults, according to a tracker run by The New York Times

Another 10 states are yet to crack a 65% vaccination rate: North Dakota (60.4%), Tennessee (61%), Alabama (61.3%), Louisiana (61.6%), Indiana (61.9%), South Carolina (62.9%), Montana (63.1%), Georgia (63.7%), Ohio (63.9%) and Missouri (64.2%).

Vaccine hesitancy remains high in many of these states despite experiencing outbreaks this summer that ranked among the worst in the world. 

Mississippi, Idaho, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia are part of a growing list of states where all or nearly all intensive care unit (ICU) beds are filled amid surges in coronavirus-linked hospitalizations. 

But an uptick in vaccinations nationwide has also brought a handful of states closer to the target threshold. 

Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina, Alaska, Michigan, Oklahoma and Arkansas are all just a few percentage points away with more than 65% of adults partially vaccinated. 

Key Background

After months of steep decline, the number of coronavirus vaccine doses administered each day began to increase steadily in July. It then jumped even further in August, with around 14 million people receiving their first dose of the vaccine, up from 10 million the month prior, according to White House Covid-19 Advisor Jeff Zients. The uptick in inoculations comes as polling suggests Americans are feeling more worried about the coronavirus as the delta variant surges. This more infectious mutation has helped drive hospitalizations to over 100,000 and deaths to nearly 1,400 each day in the U.S.. 

Big Number 

9. That’s how many states surpassed a 70% partial vaccination rate over the past month. Florida, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Nevada, South Dakota and Kentucky were all varying distances from the milestone when the U.S. reached it nationally on August 2. 

Further Reading 

“​Here Are The States Where Covid-19 Vaccine Refusal Is Still The Highest, Poll Finds—Including Ones Where Cases Have Surged” (Forbes)

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