Covid Shots Slow in Some States, Opening Way for Policy Shifts

The pace of Covid-19 vaccinations appears to be slowing in some corners of the U.S., possibly signaling that more states may follow Alaska in dramatically expanding access.

Alaska, an outperformer in the inoculation race, on Tuesday said it would become the first state to open up shots to everyone over age 16. It’s not the only jurisdiction that has seen the pace of shots administered sputter recently. Others include Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

The dropoffs come amid record allocations to states, suggesting that the change is probably on the demand and distribution side, rather than supply-related.

Covid Shots Slow in Some States, Opening Way for Policy Shifts

In Florida and Texas, leaders have recently announced moves to expand eligibility by five years to 60-and-up, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis citing softening demand.

At least 56% of Americans 65 and older have gotten at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The numbers are probably even higher, since age was unavailable for 8% of people.

Demand is generally less among younger groups, and varies widely by geography. In New Jersey, for instance, some 85% of people want a shot or already had one, compared with about 57% in Tennessee, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Covid-19 survey last month.

Authorities are eager to promote inoculations to prevent faster-spreading variants from creating another surge of cases. The key to limiting death and severe illness will be in continuing to vaccinate seniors, who account for about 4 in 5 Covid-19 fatalities overall.

  • The U.S. has given at least one dose of a vaccine to 18.4% of its population, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
  • The U.S. posted 50,184 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the seven-day average down to 57,125, the lowest since Oct. 18, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
  • There have been nearly 528,000 deaths.

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