1,000 counties within the U.S. have vaccination protection of lower than 30%

FEMA members greet the public on their way to high school to be vaccinated on April 26, 2021 at a FEMA-operated Covid-19 mobile vaccination clinic at Biddeford High School in Bidderford, Maine.

Joseph Precious | AFP | Getty Images

About 1,000 counties in the United States have less than 30% vaccination coverage, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The counties in question are mainly in the Southeast and Midwest and are, according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky most susceptible to Covid infection. The authority already sees rising disease rates in these districts due to the further spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, said Walensky.

The Delta variant currently accounts for about 25% of the new cases sequenced in the US, and officials believe it will become the dominant strain in the country, dwarfing the currently dominant Alpha variant.

In some counties, the delta variant rates are up to 50% according to the CDC. “We expect increased transmission in these communities when we can’t vaccinate more people,” said Walensky.

According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington, zip codes with the highest rates of vaccination hesitation are in states such as North Dakota, Idaho, and Alabama.

During the briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Medical Advisor to the President, a study in The Lancet that showed mRNA vaccines were about 80% effective against confirmed Delta variant infection. The study also showed that two doses of an AstraZeneca vaccine provided 60% protection.

As for symptomatic disease, another study cited by Fauci showed that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine produced 88% protection against the Delta variant. A study by Public Health England showed that the Pfizer vaccines with the Delta variant offered 96% protection against hospitalization and the AstraZeneca vaccine offered 92% effectiveness after two doses.

“Preliminary data for the past six months suggests that 99.5% of deaths from Covid-19 in the states have occurred in unvaccinated people … the suffering and loss we see now are almost entirely preventable,” Walensky said .

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