15 Practices to Improve Vaccination Program Effectiveness by Reaching the People Most at Risk

Rendering of the 2019-nCoV virion. Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/REUTERS

The percent of the U.S. population vaccinated for COVID-19 has increased steadily over the past few weeks alongside of expansion of eligibility. As of May 18, 2021, 60% of U.S. adults 18 years of age and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 46% are fully vaccinated and everyone 12 years of age and older is now eligible for the vaccine. But this does not tell us the whole story. There are large disparities in vaccine uptake; racial and ethnic minorities, particularly the Black and Latinx communities, are being vaccinated at much lower rates than their white counterparts. These population groups also experience a higher burden of disease and higher COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates than whites. Vaccine uptake rates are also lower among rural populations and people with certain political perspectives. Vaccine equity needs to be prioritized in all counties throughout the United States, not only as a matter of justice and to save lives, but also to reduce the risk of having more dangerous variants emerge.