You wouldn’t be alone if when asked where you thought the most-vaccinated place in the US was you assumed it was a relatively rich, liberal, northeastern state, such as Vermont or Connecticut. Maybe Oregon or Washington on the west coast? Perhaps the District of Columbia?
In a Twitter thread, Dr Ashish Jha, professor and dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, celebrated the achievement and reflected on how Puerto Rico managed to get so many people fully vaccinated.
In Puerto Rico, 72 per cent of the population is vaccinated against the virus.
Among older people, those aged over 65, Vermont has an impressive vaccination rate of 96.3 per cent, but Puerto Rico takes first place with 99.9 per cent — essentially everyone in that age group.
Dr Jha says that the vaccine drive on the island has really paid off. Since 1 July when the Delta variant surge began in the US, Vermont had 50 per cent more cases than Puerto Rico.
Today, Puerto Rico has one of the lowest infection rates in America — much lower than most states, Dr Jha notes.
What is impressive about the achievement is that Puerto Rico is relatively poor compared to much of the US and has a large population — more than 21 states.
There are approximately 3.285 million people in Puerto Rico compared to just 624,000 in Vermont.
Dr Jha believes that part of the reason for the success is that vaccines have not been politicised — the two topics have not been intermixed.
There is less attention paid in Puerto Rico to politics in the mainland US, and political parties on the island actively support vaccinations.
Dr Jha says Puerto Rico is “doing a fabulous job vaccinating its people to keep everyone safe” and shows that it is not just wealthier states that can achieve such high levels of vaccination.
Nationwide, 57.1 per cent of the total population, or 66.8 per cent of the over-12s eligible for the vaccine, have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. For the over 65s the number is 84.4 per cent.
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