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Vaccinating a high percentage of the population against COVID-19 is a crucial part of the U.S. strategy to curb the pandemic.
Since COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the United States on Dec. 14, 2020, more than 534 million doses have been administered, fully vaccinating over 210 million people or 63.4% of the total U.S. population.
Explore how the vaccine rollout is going in the following five graphics, built using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Currently, two of the three COVID-19 vaccines that are available in the U.S. require a two-shot regimen to reach full vaccination. The third vaccine requires just one shot.
Federal health authorities have authorized additional booster shots for vaccine recipients who may be at higher risk of COVID-19. (To find out if you need one, take our booster shot quiz.)
How have vaccination rates changed over time?
After a slow kickoff in December, vaccine administration improved in scale and efficiency. The country surpassed President Biden's initial goals of getting 100 million vaccines into arms in his first 100 days, reaching 200 million vaccines by day 92.
Administration rates peaked in early April — with the United States giving out more than 3 million COVID-19 shots per day — but declined dramatically after, once people who were most eager to get vaccinated received their shots.
Vaccine eligibility opened to everyone 16 and up in the U.S. in mid-April, to those 12 and older in mid-May, and to kids as young as 5 in early November.
Vaccine uptake hit a low in early July; the country fell several million people short of President Biden's goal of getting at least one shot to 70% of adults in the U.S. by Independence Day.
Later in the summer, vaccination rates rose, as delta surged around the country, hitting hard in areas with low vaccine coverage. Vaccine mandates in schools and workplaces contributed to a further increase in daily doses administered in the fall.
Looking ahead: Projected dates for vaccination coverage
Researchers have estimated that around 70% to 85% of the country needs to be immune to the coronavirus for COVID-19 to stop spreading through communities and peter out.
People who have recovered from a coronavirus infection may have existing protection against reinfection. However, it's unclear how strong this natural immunity is and how long it lasts, so public health officials recommend that everyone aged 12 and up get vaccinated against the disease, including those who were previously infected.
States progress unevenly in vaccine rollout
In the race to vaccinate their residents, Puerto Rico, along with some states with smaller populations in the Northeast, have been leading the way. Some states in the Southeast and Midwest are lagging.
States receive vaccine allocations based on their total adult populations. Each state has its own plan for how to get those vaccines out to its residents — through county health offices, hospital systems, pharmacies, mass vaccination sites and mobile clinics. Some states are encountering hesitancy and resistance to getting vaccinated among their populations.
The federal strategy for giving out shots has pivoted from mass vaccination sites, which served millions of people per day at stadiums and conference centers in the spring, to targeted efforts at local pharmacies, doctors' offices, schools, work sites and community health centers.
The Biden-Harris administration says equity is central to the country's vaccination efforts. As of November 2, anyone in the U.S. 5 and older is eligible to get a vaccine.
Selena Simmons-Duffin, Ruth Talbot, Thomas Wilburn and Carmel Wroth contributed to this report.