FL lags behind many Northern states when it comes to fully vaccinating residents

Disposable masks that lie flat and expand over the face should be blue on the outside, with pleats pointing downward. Check if the manufacturer is FDA approved. Credit: AEA Group LLC

When the CDC announced this week that Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks in most situations, indoors and outdoors, there was a catch: Most residents still aren’t fully vaccinated.

And Florida lags behind many Northern states in getting shots in arms, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

States with highest percentage of residents fully vaccinated are in the New England states, including Maine (47.3 percent), Connecticut (46.5), Massachusetts (44.8), Vermont (44.8) and Rhode Island (43.4).

Many mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states also fared better than Florida in getting vaccinations, including New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota — all between 40 to 43 percent.

But Florida is at 34.3 percent based on residents fully vaccinated — slightly lower than the national average of 35.8 percent, according to the CDC data.

Southern states have some of the lowest percentages, including Mississippi at 25.5 percent; Alabama, 26.8, Arkansas, 28.5, Tennessee and Georgia at 28.6 and Louisiana, 29.2 percent.

So in an analysis of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., Maine has the highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents and Mississippi, the lowest.

The CDC’s policy change on masks applies to people  “fully” vaccinated, meaning at least two weeks have passed since receiving a second COVID-19 vaccine dose, for a Pfizer or Moderna shot, or after getting the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, according to a Phoenix story.

However, masks still must be worn for public transportation, such as  airplanes, trains and buses.

Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.