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New Data Shows Grafton and Coos Counties Lead N.H. in Coronavirus Vaccine Progress

A sign outside a Plymouth vaccination site reads "COVID-19 vaccination site by appts only"
Sarah Gibson, NHPR
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Grafton County, where this Plymouth vaccination site is located, leads the state in vaccinating a larger share of its residents against COVID-19 than anywhere else.

New data from the federal government shows that New Hampshire's northern rural counties are closer to being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 than other more populous regions.As of Sunday, about one in five Grafton and Coos County residents is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Carroll County isn't far behind, with about 17 percent of its population fully covered.

(Click here or scroll down for an interactive map exploring vaccination rates by county.)

Hillsborough, meanwhile, trails the state with about 10 percent of its population fully vaccinated, according to the same data.

At least part of that is likely due to differences in population: About 40,000 Hillsborough County residents have received all recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, about six times as many as in Coos County. Rockingham County, which has also fully vaccinated more than 41,000 of its residents, has reached about 13 percent of its overall population.

(Related: Your Guide to Coronavirus Vaccines in New Hampshire)

But the coverage gaps are likely also driven by demographic differences. About 21 percent of Grafton County residents are over age 65, according to U.S. Census data. The same age group makes up about 24 percent of Coos County and 27 percent of Carroll County.

Hillsborough County, meanwhile, skews younger. But even when looking only at vaccination rates among older adults, Hillsborough still falls behind the rest of the state: Only about 32 percent of its residents over age 65 have been vaccinated, compared to half of those in Grafton and Coos Counties.

Until last week, the vaccine was only open to the general public over age 65 in New Hampshire — so it's not surprising that counties with more adults in that age bracket would be farther ahead in their vaccine progress.

Those in their 50s became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on March 22. And by the end of this week, any New Hampshire resident over age 16 will be able to register for their shots.

(This post was updated at about 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 28, to reflect the latest available data.)

Casey McDermott is an editor and reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, where she works with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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