As of July 4, about two-thirds of adults in the US had received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and about 157 million people were fully vaccinated, but coverage varied widely among different groups. And as vaccination progress stalls, large disparities remain between who has been vaccinated and who has been most affected by the coronavirus.
While the Biden administration’s July 4 goal focused on the number of adults who were at least partially vaccinated, the share of the total population that is fully vaccinated better represents the level of protection against Covid-19.
Here’s the share of vaccinations by race and ethnicity. At first, vaccine coverage among White people relative to their share of the US population far outpaced other groups. But that gap has started to close, as Black and especially Hispanic people have accounted for a larger share of vaccinations over the past couple of weeks.
Yet, groups that have been most affected by Covid-19 remain underrepresented among those who have been vaccinated.
White Americans make up about 50% of all US Covid-19 cases, but more than 60% of those vaccinated. The most troubling disparities are among groups who have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 but are underrepresented in vaccinations.
Black and Hispanic communities have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. About 29% of Covid-19 infections in the US were among Hispanic people, more than their 17% share of the total population — but Hispanic people have only received 15% of vaccinations. Similarly, more than 11% of Covid-19 cases have occurred among Black people, who make up 9% of all vaccinations.
Adults 65 and older were eligible for the vaccine earlier than others, and vaccination coverage among seniors has continued to climb. More than 78% of those 65 and older are fully vaccinated, accounting for more than a quarter of those vaccinated. But as the pace of vaccinations has slowed, disparities have grown between those being vaccinated and those falling sick.
Adults ages 18 to 29 make up the largest share of Covid-19 cases reported since the start of the pandemic, as well as in recent weeks. But they make up the smallest share of those who are vaccinated with the exception of minors, not all of whom are eligible to receive a vaccine.
This is a particular concern among health officials in the US as the Delta variant spreads rapidly across unvaccinated populations. The Biden administration specifically identified adults under 27 as the group that would miss the July 4 goal.
Geographic disparities exist, as well. Here’s the share of vaccinations by US region. The South is the most populous region in the country and has the largest share of vaccinated people. But the region recorded an even larger share of Covid-19 cases throughout the pandemic, and vaccination progress lags in many Southern states.
Covid-19 cases are surging in some under-vaccinated regions — particularly the South and Midwest — threatening progress and risking the development of new variants. The largest gap between vaccinations and cases is in the South, where several states, including Alabama and Louisiana, have vaccinated less than 40% of their population with at least one dose.