While U.S. health experts are feeling somewhat optimistic about the worst of the coronavirus pandemic being in our rearview mirror, vaccine hesitancy is still an issue in many states, particularly in the South.
The latest statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that Vermont leads with 70.8% of the population fully vaccinated, followed by Connecticut at 70.2% and Maine at 70%, according to the CDC, which added that just over 57% of the total US population was fully vaccinated as of Friday. While those states are nearing herd immunity status, they’re all still lagging behind a U.S. territory that has managed to outpace the mainland in vaccinations.
[Puerto Rico’s first mass vaccination event. AP image]
Despite being flattened by deadly hurricanes, rocked by earthquakes, dealing with political unrest, and saddled by crippling debt –not to mention, pelted with rolls of paper towels by a certain Former Guy–Puerto Rico has quietly managed to outpace even the New England states with the highest vaccination rates in the country.
When folks think about highly vaccinated places in America
They think Vermont or CT or MA
Those places are good
But not the most vaccinated place in America
So who's #1?
But PR has gotten way too little attention
Its worth reflecting on how they did it
— Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH (@ashishkjha) October 17, 2021
Puerto Rico has fully vaccinated just over 73% of its 3.3 million residents, according to the CDC. That’s more than 2.3 million people, giving the island the highest rate of total vaccine doses administered, with 154,563 per 100,000 people. It had administered 4.9 million doses as of Friday, according to the CDC. Not only is Puerto Rico poor compared to much of the mainland, but it also has a larger population than 21 states. It’s about “5 times bigger” than Vermont, CNN reports. The poverty rate on the island was about 43% in 2018, compared to 13% at the national level and more than double Mississippi’s 19.7%, according to the US Census Bureau.
While Republicans have been treating Puerto Rico like a foreign country…THIS👇🏽HAPPENED. pic.twitter.com/dQORf62qce
— Christopher 🇺🇸 Proud Dem (@cwebbonline) October 24, 2021
Puerto Rico has had at least 151,245 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 3,219 reported deaths during the pandemic, according to the island’s health department. Connecticut, which is about the same size as Puerto Rico, has had more than 400,000 Covid-19 cases and 8,721 deaths.
Puerto Rico is the most vaccinated place in the US:
73% of population fully vaccinated against covid.
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) October 25, 2021
Throughout the pandemic, the island’s government has implemented lockdowns and other restrictions, issued mask and vaccination mandates, and put in place strict indoor dining and social distancing rules, according to members of the Covid-19 coalition. While some states have fiercely resisted Covid-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates, the US territory has not.
Why does Puerto Rico have the highest vaccination rates (and lowest infection rates) in the US?
They didn’t politicize Covid.
They care about their elderly and immuno-compromised.
They embraced their vaccine mandates.
The solution is simple. The will to see it done, isn’t.
— Smite!⚡️ (@7Veritas4) October 18, 2021
Track your state’s vaccination rates here.