County-Level COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage, By Social Vulnerability and Vaccine Hesitancy

In the charts below, we explore the impact of social vulnerability and vaccine hesitancy using data made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Last updated: December 9, 2021

We define hesitancy as the percentage of residents who said that they would “probably not” or “definitely not” receive a COVID-19 vaccine at this point in time. Counties were divided into tertiles of low, moderate and high hesitancy, with equal numbers in each category.

The CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) was used to compare vulnerability between counties. Again, counties were divided into tertiles of low, moderate and high social vulnerability.

As of October 24, we find counties with high COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy had an average vaccination rate that was 17% lower than low-hesitancy counties, a difference that has been relatively stable for 9 weeks. There is some evidence the gap between counties with high and low social vulnerability is starting to narrow, beginning the week of August 18, but from an equity perspective, the gap continues to be concerning.

U.S. County-Level COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage, by Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) and COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Levels

Low SVIModerate SVIHigh SVI
Low hesitancy74.7%74.5%71.9%
Moderate hesitancy65.7%65.4%62.8%
High hesitancy56.1%55.8%53.3%

U.S. counties with high social vulnerability index (SVI), high COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, both or neither (2021).

Analysis in: Crane, M., Faden, R., Romley, J.. (2021) Health Affairs. November 2021.

Data is updated weekly based on the prior Sunday's data.

A press release about the study is available here. The full study is available in the November issue of Health Affairs.