While concern is rising that fewer people may be stepping forward to get their coronavirus vaccinations, Massachusetts and other New England states lead the nation in the rate of people who have gotten at least their first shot of one of the vaccines.
New Hampshire led the states with 60.7 percent of residents having gotten at least a first dose or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New Hampshire was followed by Massachusetts (57.3 percent), Vermont (56.6), Connecticut (55.6), and Maine (55.2). Decidedly non-New England Hawaii (53.7) was next on the list, but Rhode Island (53.3) followed quickly behind.
The metric is one of a number of measures of vaccination campaign progress that the CDC tracks and releases to the public.
Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, in a series of tweets Monday morning, drew a connection between the high vaccination rates and recent declines in coronavirus cases in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Maine.
Noting the experience of Israel, he also suggested that getting 50 percent of the population vaccinated may be a “turning point” where cases begin to drop sharply.
“At what point should we see cases in US begin to drop sharply from vaccinations?” Jha wrote. He said it was “complicated but experience from Israel says 45-50% of population vaccinated.”
While the “US is shy of that,” he said, some states are past that threshold.
“So do we have evidence its working there? Why yes we do,” he said, pointing to New England.
“I know, all New England states,” he noted.
Nationally, according to the CDC, more than 147 million people, or 44.3 percent, of the population have received at least one dose.
Mississippi (31.1 percent), Louisiana (32.2), and Alabama (32.7) were the states with the lowest percentages of their population with at least one dose.
Most of the New England states were also among the leaders in terms of percentage of population fully vaccinated, which requires two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson. New Hampshire was an exception, falling in the bottom half of states in that measure, according to the CDC data.
Federal estimates have indicated that reluctance to get the vaccine is relatively low in New England.
Martin Finucane can be reached at email@example.com.