vaccine

Two pairs of very different Kentucky counties – Pike, Woodford, Perry and Fayette – have the highest percentages of their populations fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data published Sunday by The Washington Post.

The CDC data show that 23.3% of Pike County's population has been fully vaccinated, well above the state average of 15.3% and the national average of 14.7%. Woodford County ranks second, at 21.6%, followed by Perry County at 21.4% and Fayette County at 21.2%.

Pike and Perry counties are deep in Appalachian Kentucky, while Fayette and Woodford are in the heart of the much more well-to-do Bluegrass, but the first three are all home to major health-care facilities, and most of Woodford County's population has easy access to Fayette, so that could be a factor.

Floyd County, which borders Pike, has a fully-vaccinated rate of 20.1%. It is the only other Kentucky county with more than 20%, according to the Post map produced with the CDC data. It is the first public report of county-by-county vaccination rates, and doesn't include all states because of limited reporting.

The report's interactive map also lists the percentages of adult and senior population that have been fully vaccinated, either one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. Pike leads in adult vaccinations with 29.3% and Fayette is tops for 65 and up with 54.6%.

Twenty counties have less than 10% of their populations fully vaccinated, according to the Post map: Adair, Ballard, Calloway, Casey, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Elliott, Graves, Hart, Jackson, Lee, Lewis, McCreary, Meade, Rockcastle, Spencer, Taylor, Todd and Wayne, which has the lowest rate, 6.6%. Other low counties are Spencer, 6.7%; Casey, 6.9%; and Christian, 7.2%.

Jefferson, the state's most populous county, had 15.8% fully vaccinated, half a percentage point above the statewide average. It and Christian County both have large Black populations, and Gov. Andy Beshear has said more than once that the vaccination rate among Kentucky Blacks lags that of whites.

The Post story reports the CDC data show "notably lower rates in predominantly Black areas and counties that voted most heavily for President Donald Trump in 2020." President Biden carried only Fayette and Jefferson counties, but the data suggest that counties where Trump got over 80% have lower vaccination rates.

The Post says it included only counties for which at least 85% of vaccination records included a person’s county of residence: "For the states with usable information, 45 percent of people age 65 and older, 18.2 percent of all adults 18 or older, and 14.3 percent of the entire population are fully vaccinated."

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