Wyoming, New Mexico and South Dakota Move to Open Vaccine Eligibility

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Wyoming announced on Wednesday that residents 16 years or older were now eligible to get a Covid-19 vaccine in the state. New Mexico and South Dakota said that they would make all residents 16 years or older eligible on April 5, and Pennsylvania said it would do the same for all adults on April 19.

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In all, 43 states have now sped up their vaccination efforts at a time when health officials are warning of a possible fourth surge of coronavirus cases.

The pace of vaccinations has been picking up across the country as more states changed their eligibility timelines. As of Tuesday, an average of 2.7 million shots a day are being administered across the country, about 10 percent more than the average a week earlier, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I want to take this opportunity and invite you to choose to get your free Covid-19 shot as soon as possible,” Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota said in announcing her state’s eligibility expansion.

New Mexico and South Dakota have been leading the country in getting shots in arms. About 47 percent of New Mexico’s total population have received at least one vaccine dose, the highest rate in the country, according to a Times analysis of C.D.C. data. South Dakota ranks third with 34 percent.

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President Biden called earlier this month for states to open eligibility to all adults by May 1. On Monday, he directed his coronavirus response team to ensure that by April 19, there would be a vaccination site within five miles of 90 percent of Americans’ homes.

The number of Americans, and especially Black Americans, who have been vaccinated or want to be vaccinated has risen significantly since January, according to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey also found that Republicans and white evangelical Christians continue to be skeptical of getting a virus vaccine.

Ms. Noem, a Republican who leads a Republican-majority state, acknowledged those concerns on Wednesday.

“There will never be the heavy hand of government mandating that you get the vaccine,” she said. “We will trust our people to do the right thing.”





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