State of the Facts
Nine months since the first COVID-19 vaccine was approved, more than 120 million Americans have not yet received one dose.
Children younger than 12 are the only age group currently ineligible to receive the vaccine. There are 48 million people in that age group.
The remaining 72 million are older than 12 and therefore eligible to get vaccinated. Vaccination data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that lack of vaccination trends toward younger Americans and states in the Southeastern US.
Younger Americans are the largest share of the unvaccinated population. About 29% of unvaccinated people who are also eligible for the shots are between 12 and 24 years old.
Older Americans have been eligible for vaccination longer than other age groups and have higher overall vaccination rates. As of September 16, 7.3 million out of the 54.9 million people 65 and older, have not gotten a shot.
The 29 states with the lowest vaccination rates — all below 60% — are also home to a disproportionate unvaccinated population. Combined, these states account for 47% of the overall population but 57% of the unvaccinated population.
Texas has 12 million people who haven’t been vaccinated, more than any other state. While the state is home to 9% of the nation’s population, it is home to 10% of unvaccinated Americans.
With 58% of its 29 million residents starting vaccination, Texas has an unvaccinated population of 12.2 million.
There is a gap in state-level vaccination rates for the 65 and older population as well. Over 99% of the age group in Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and Vermont have started vaccinations according to the CDC. The vaccination rate is 85% or lower in seven states: Alaska, Idaho, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Wyoming, and West Virginia.
The federal government conducts two nationwide surveys that ask people about both vaccination status and intent to get vaccinated. Both the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey and the CDC's National Immunization Survey suggest that younger adults are less likely to get vaccinated.
According to the latest CDC survey from August 8 to August 14, 23% percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say they “probably or definitely will not get vaccinated” compared to 16% of the overall adult population. Similarly, in the latest Household Pulse Survey conducted August 18 to August 30, 14% of all adults said they were “unsure,” “will probably not,” or “will definitely not” get a vaccine. Twenty percent of adults under 40 gave those responses.
The surveys revealed other vaccine hesitancy trends. In the Household Pulse Survey, 21% of people with a previous COVID-19 diagnosis say they are less than certain to get fully vaccinated compared with 12% of people who didn’t have a prior diagnosis.
The survey also shows that 19% of the population who have at most a high school degree or GED were unlikely to get vaccinated compared with 6% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
In the CDC survey, 22% of uninsured adults indicated they likely would not get vaccinated compared to 13% of insured people. Nineteen percent of adults in rural areas said the same, compared with 13% of urban residents and 14% of suburban residents.
For more on coronavirus vaccinations, visit the vaccine tracker.
A similar dataset from the CDC with race and ethnicity data was not used in this analysis because the agency had such data in 60% of its cases. It had age data for 91% of all cases.
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