Puerto Rico Has Vaccinated More People Than Any Other U.S. State or Territory
Puerto Rico has officially become the most vaccinated place in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The island territory has fully vaccinated 73.3% of its population, according to the agency, ahead of states like Vermont and Connecticut, which have each seen some of the highest rates of COVID-19 vaccinations in the country. And in Puerto Rico, 81.8% of people have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
The vaccination rate in Puerto Rico is also much higher than the nationwide average, where only 66.5% of people have received at least one dose and only 57.5% are fully vaccinated.
"We don't see that correlation between political ideologies and people's willingness to get vaccinated or use masks," Monica Feliu-Mojer, the director of communications and science outreach for Ciencia Puerto Rico, told NPR in an interview this week. "And while there are people that are hesitant, the majority of the population, I think, understands that vaccination is a really important factor or tool for… Puerto Rico to control COVID-19."
The strong inoculation rate on the island comes as Puerto Rico has implemented strict vaccination and testing rules, requiring all hotel and short-term rental employees and guests to show either proof of vaccination or a negative test result upon arrival. Proof of vaccination or a negative test is also required for many restaurants and bars.
Vaccinated domestic travelers are allowed to visit the island by uploading their official vaccination cards to Puerto Rico's Travel Declaration Form portal. Unvaccinated travelers must show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of their arrival. If they arrive without a test, they must upload one within 48 hours of their arrival or will face a $300 fine, according to the tourism board.
Beyond Puerto Rico, the CDC said the territory of Guam has fully vaccinated 72.7% of its population.
When it comes to states, Hawaii has inoculated the highest percentage of its population with 71% considered fully vaccinated, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health. In a notable discrepancy, the CDC lists Hawaii as having vaccinated only 59.6% of its population.
Hawaii is followed by Vermont, where the CDC says 70.9% of people are fully vaccinated.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.