A ranking of countries based on vaccination rates currently has America at number 40 worldwide, revealing just how far the U.S. has fallen behind in getting its citizens vaccinated.
Back in July, the United States was in the top 20, landing at a respectable 18th place on the vaccination rate rankings of countries. But in the two months since, America has faced a massive drop as vaccination rates have slowed and now sits at 40th with 54.44 percent of the population vaccinated, just behind Czechia (54.74 percent) and Greece (54.54 percent) while barely managing to beat out Lichtenstein (54.28 percent) and Andorra (54.23 percent).
The United States now ranks among the lowest in terms of vaccination rates for wealthy countries, as every country in the top 10 has a rate of more than 70 percent among their population.
So why is America falling so far behind? Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, as previous maps of vaccine rates by states have shown, the answer is mostly political.
It’s no secret that the vaccine rollout has become a highly divisive topic across party lines, as the Biden administration has pushed to get as many people vaccinated as possible while the large factions of the conservative right, from talk-show hosts to politicians making policy, have argued that individuals should be able to make their own choices about whether or not they want to get vaccinated and even casting doubt on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine itself.
As a result, there are two diverging stories about vaccines and COVID cases in the United States. And that is that infection rates, and vaccine rates, are largely divided by political lines. This has long been a trend since the vaccines have begun to roll out.
Despite the pervasiveness of the Delta variant, states with vaccination rates of 70 percent or more have mostly succeeded in limiting outbreaks. Meanwhile, of the 23 states that have a total of new COVID-19 cases per capita surpassing the national rate, 21 of them voted for Trump in 2020 and many of these states rank among the lowest vaccinated rates in the country. There is a similar correlation when it comes to COVID deaths, with 14 out of 18 states with a rate of death higher than the national average has backed Trump.
Ideally, politics would not interfere with public health, especially when over half a million people have died due to an ongoing pandemic. A virus does not care who you vote for. But, sadly, that’s the world we seem to live in and unfortunately, if things don’t turn around, the United States could continue to fall further behind in the race to get vaccinated.