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Most New England States Ahead Of The Curve On Vaccination Rates

A public health expert says several factors may explain why many New England states are near the top of the list for getting their residents vaccinated against COVID-19.

Connecticut is second in the nation for the percentage of its population that's fully vaccinated. Massachusetts is fourth and Maine is fifth. Vermont and Rhode Island follow soon after. New Hampshire is further down the list at 43rd. That's all according to Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, who is with the university's Center for Health Security, said most New England states are likely benefiting from their small sizes compared to the rest of the country, meaning fewer square miles to cover in order to provide vaccine access.

"And then, of course, there's the culture of the state and what opposition there may be to vaccines and what the general mood is about vaccines," Nuzzo said. "My guess is that on balance, compared to other parts of the country, New Englanders may be a bit more pro-vaccine than the southern states where we're really seeing a challenge in uptake of vaccines right now."

Nuzzo said the numbers of older residents in a state could also be a playing role.

"All states have different age structures" she said. In "states where there are more elderly people, it's probably taken a greater amount of time in order to get vaccines in all of the people that are at highest risk." 

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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