Tennessee lags behind nation in vaccination rates

The rate of Tennessee residents who have been fully vaccinated ranks among the worst in the United States, as reported by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The center’s vaccine tracker is updated daily, and as of Sunday, March 14, only 9.65 percent of Tennessee residents have been fully vaccinated. The only state with a lower rate of full vaccination is California which currently stands at just 9.53 percent.

The vaccination rates in both states are far below the U.S. average of 11.06 percent. California is the nation’s most populous state with more than 39 million residents while Tennessee ranks 16th with nearly 7 million. Texas, the nation’s second most populous state with nearly 30 million residents also ranks just ahead of Tennessee in the bottom three with 9.69 percent of the state’s population showing fully vaccinated.

While the nation’s two most populous states are lagging in vaccination rates, some of the nation’s least populated states rank near the top. Alaska ranks ahead of only Vermont and Wyoming in total population while ranking 50th in population density. The Last Frontier is first when it comes to vaccination rates, however, with 17.69 percent of the state’s residents having reached full vaccination status. New Mexico (16.46 percent), South Dakota (14.90 percent), West Virginia (14.86 percent) and Hawaii (14.23 percent) round out the Top 5.

In Tennessee's case, the slow rollout has caused frustrations for residents who want the vaccine and can't get it yet. Some residents have even resorted to other measures to obtain a dose including registering in other states where they may be eligible.

If there's any good news for Tennesseans, it may be in the fact that the state moved to Phase 1c of its vaccine rollout plan last week meaning that any resident over the age of 55 is now eligible to sign up for the vaccine. That should mean the state's numbers will drastically improve over the weeks to come even if the state continues to lag behind the rest of the country.

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