More than a dozen states are reporting over 50% of their residents 18 and older are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, with a number of others nearing the feat. Connecticut and Maine are the furthest along in the effort, with each reporting 57.5% of the adults in their state as fully vaccinated.
Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and New Mexico also boast over 54% of their adults fully vaccinated, while South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island and Hawaii fall between 50-54%.
Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and West Virginia remain in the bottom tier of vaccination efforts, with each reporting between 33- 40%.
The latest data, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) comes on the heels of a major update regarding mask use among vaccinated individuals. On Thursday, the agency said those who are fully vaccinated, or two weeks past their final dose of the shot, can safely gather indoors and outdoors in most settings without the need of a mask.
For now, the agency still recommends those who are unvaccinated wear masks, and that even individuals who are fully vaccinated wear one while traveling, such as on a bus, train or plane. It is also advised that those who develop possible symptoms of coronavirus resume wearing a mask and get tested.
“The rule is now simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do. The choice is yours,” President Joe Biden tweeted Thursday to mixed reviews.
The move also follows the FDA’s recent decision to authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech two-dose jab for adolescents ages 12-15. The expanded emergency use authorization was backed by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and approved by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walesnky.