COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Tracker: Week of March 29

Editor's note: Below you'll find release of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Tracker originally published March 30, 2021. Visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Tracker homepage for the latest data.

Nearly 24 million COVID-19 vaccine doses were delivered by the government in the past week—only a slightly higher weekly cadence we’ve seen over the last month. As a result, over 16% of the population is fully vaccinated, compared to 14% this time last week. 

While not much has changed on the distribution front, quite a bit has changed when it comes to vaccine eligibility. As of March 30, only Wyoming has not yet announced when all adult residents will be eligible for the vaccine.

Expanding Eligibility

Some states have already opened up vaccine appointments to all adults, including:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • West Virginia 

But is this a wise decision? While Alaska, North Dakota, and West Virginia have been standouts for efficient distribution and high rates of full immunization since we started this tracker, the same is not true for the other states throwing open eligibility. In fact, most of these states rank on the bottom half of the national list of completely vaccinated populations. 

In these states, people will be vying for first-time vaccine appointments alongside people still trying to get their second doses. And healthy, younger people will be seeking appointments alongside those who are higher risk for COVID-19. As of this moment, there is not enough supply to do both.

While Biden has pledged more doses, the current cadence is not enough to make good on his promise “to have enough vaccine supply for all adults in America by the end of May.” (Note: We interpreted “enough supply” to mean enough vaccines to account for two full doses of Pfizer and Moderna shots, not just the first dose.)

Right now, only Hawaii and Connecticut are on track to have enough doses to fully vaccinate their adult populations by the end of May.

Who Is Doing it Right?

Still, some states deserve praise for their vaccination efforts in recent weeks. A standout example is Maine. 

Throughout the month of March, Maine has steadily improved the percentage of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This incremental improvement was made possible by an age-based eligibility approach. There’s no guesswork or uncertainty about who is eligible for a vaccine and when: it’s all determined by age. Ultimately, this clarity means fewer doses are wasted. 

Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah is also emphasizing the importance of tightly-run, large-scale vaccination clinics in the state. Since March 1, six mass vaccination sites have opened in Maine, helping the state brace for an increase in vaccine supply from the Biden administration.

“Every single site has indicated to us that they can be doing more,” Shah said, according to local news affiliate WGME. “More vaccines per day, more hours in a day, more days per week, if only they had more shots to give. So, we’ve been asking them, where can you go? If we remove the current constraint around supply, maybe not entirely, but relieve it greatly, how much more can you do?” 

The goal at Maine’s Auburn Mall location, for example, is to vaccinate 1,000 people per day. 

By our calculations, these tactics have helped Maine get on track to fully vaccinate 70% of its adult population by the end of June—aligning with Biden’s goal for the majority of Americans to be vaccinated by the 4th of July. As of March 30, nine other states are also on track.

Why 70%?

While there’s still no clear percentage of the population necessary to reach herd immunity for COVID-19, 70% is a good place to start. Herd immunity refers to the protectiveness achieved when a significant portion of a population develops immunity to an infectious disease, either through vaccination or having a prior illness. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, used to say 60% to 70% of the population needed to be vaccinated or recovered to reach herd immunity, his projection has evolved to range from 70% to 90%.

Herd immunity is a complex calculation that relies on both past infections and number of people vaccinated. Because the World Health Organization emphasizes herd immunity should rely on vaccination and not disease exposure, for the sake of projections, our numbers focus on the time it will take to hit 70% through vaccination alone.

Data by Amanda Morelli/Adrian Nesta

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. See how the vaccine rollout is going in your county and state. The New York Times.

  2. Markowitz A. The COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in Maine. AARP.

  3. World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Herd immunity, lockdowns and COVID-19.

By Anisa Arsenault
Anisa joined the company in 2018 after managing news surrounding fertility, pregnancy, and parenting for The Bump. Her health and wellness articles have appeared in outlets like Prevention and Metro US. At Verywell, she is responsible for the news program, which includes coverage of COVID-19.