West Virginia, Alaska, South Dakota Have Best Records for COVID-19 Vaccine Administration

West Virginia, Alaska, South Dakota Have Best Records for
COVID-19 Vaccine Administration 1

The states of West Virginia, Alaska, and South Dakota have the best records for administering two doses of COVID-19 vaccine to residents of their states so far, according to data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

All three states have Republican governors: Jim Justice in West Virginia, Mike Dunleavy in Alaska, and Kristi Noem in South Dakota.

The CDC COVID-19 vaccination tracker includes data about the number of residents of each state who have received the two COVID-19 vaccinations recommended by vaccine manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer.

On a per capita basis, as of Monday, February 1, West Virginia leads the way with 3,759 people who have received two doses per 100,000. Alaska is not far behind with 3,481 per 100,000, closely followed by South Dakota, with 3.454 residents per 100,000.

Four states are at the bottom of the list: Georgia with 1,182 people who have received two doses per 100,000, Nevada, with 1,154 residents per 100,000, Alabama with 1,148 residents per 100,000, and Mississippi with 843 residents per 100,000.

Becker’s Hospital Review provides another measure of state government efficiency: percentage of COVID-19 vaccines delivered to them that have been administered.

The top four states by that measure are North Dakota, West Virginia, New Mexico, and South Dakota:

North Dakota
Doses distributed to state: 108,050
Doses administered: 97,915
Percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered: 90.62

West Virginia
Doses distributed to state: 305,200
Doses administered: 259,774
Percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered: 85.12

New Mexico
Doses distributed to state: 317,900
Doses administered: 264,147
Percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered: 83.09

South Dakota
Doses distributed to state: 130,700
Doses administered: 105,961
Percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered: 81.07

The bottom four states by this measure are Alabama (53.7 percent of distributed vaccines have been administered), Kansas (53.6 percent), Missouri (53.2 percent), and Rhode Island (52.6 percent).

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is a Republican, while New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is a Democrat.

While Alaska ranks high in terms of the number of the people in the state who have received two doses of vaccine, it fares less well in terms of the percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered in the state, ranking 29th out of 5o states with 61 percent.

West Virginia and South Dakota are the only two states that rank in the top three states of people with two doses per capita and the top four states for percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered.

The federal government has been responsible for the delivery of vaccines to the state governments, while state governments have been responsible for the administration of those vaccines. The performance of the various state governments has been all over the map, as Bloomberg News reported on Sunday:

Vaccinations in the U.S. began Dec. 14 with health-care workers, and so far 31.8 million shots have been given, according to a state-by-state tally by Bloomberg and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the last week, an average of 1.35 million doses per day were administered. . .

The U.S. rollout fell short of federal projections as vaccinations proceeded unevenly across the states. The initial round of shots through early January has been doled out primarily through hospitals and other institutional health-care settings. The next phase will draw more on pharmacies and health clinics—places where vaccines are more traditionally administered—and will broaden the pool of people eligible to get the shots. Some states are turning sport stadiums and theme parks into mass vaccination centers. . .

The U.S. is managing state allocations of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine,  as well as Moderna’s shot and has said it will make more shots available in order to increase vaccinations. Both vaccines require two doses taken several weeks apart. At least 5.82 million people have completed the two-dose vaccination regimen.

CNN reported recently on why South Dakota and West Virginia have had greater success at COVID-19 distribution and adminstration than other states:

In South Dakota, conversations about vaccine planning started as early as August and have continued on a daily basis, Daniel Bucheli, director of communications for the state health department, told CNN.

“Preparation not panic has been the key,” he said. “There’s daily communication, with the opportunity for partners to share feedback on what’s working and what’s not. Open lines of communication are ongoing.”. . .

“The biggest thing that we’ve done is backed away from the (federal) standardized program,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice told CNN. . .

“We have instead partnered with all the pharmacies in West Virginia. We felt like that, from a state perspective, would be limiting our ability to rapidly distribute and administer the vaccine to the population in need if we had gone with the federal program,” he said.

As governors of both parties position themselves for potential 2024 Presidential campaigns, their track records of performance at the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines will continue to undergo close scrutiny.

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