Daily Brew: COVID vaccine eligibility by state

The Daily Brew by Ballotpedia

A look at COVID-19 vaccine eligibility by state 

Note: In some states, vaccine eligibility varies by county. The data in the map above shows the loosest restrictions in each state and may not reflect statewide accessibility.

Over the past year, we’ve covered many ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected political and civic life in America. In recent months, we’ve been tracking vaccine distribution in all 50 states. We update this information each weekday. Naturally, we’ve asked ourselves many of the same questions you likely have as well. Who can get the vaccine? Am I eligible? When will I be ready? How is my state doing compared to other states?

As of March 18, at least one county in each state allowed the following age groups to receive a vaccine:

  • Five states allowed vaccinations for anyone 16+ or 18+. (A limited number of counties in Michigan and Arizona allow individuals 16+ access to vaccinations. About one-third of Wyoming’s counties allow vaccinations for people 18+. Mississippi and Alaska are the only states that permit vaccinations for all people 16+ statewide).
  • One state allowed vaccinations for anyone 45+.
  • 10 states allowed vaccinations for anyone 50+ or 55+.
  • 33 states and Washington, D.C., allowed vaccinations for anyone 60+ or 65+.
  • One state allowed vaccinations for anyone 75+.

Latest changes

All Mississippi residents over the age of 16 became eligible for vaccinations on March 16. Before the change took effect, residents aged 50 and older had been eligible for vaccinations since March 4. Mississippi is the second state to allow vaccinations for anyone over the age of 16 statewide, after Alaska. 

Alaska opened vaccination appointments to everyone aged 16 and older on March 9. Previously, those 55 and older had been eligible for appointments since March 3. 

Several other governors recently announced dates for lifting restrictions on vaccine eligibility:

  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced a revised timeline for vaccine distribution on March 15. Lamont said scheduling will open to all individuals ages 45 to 54 starting March 19. The state is targeting April 5 to open vaccinations to everyone age 16 or older. 
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced the state will expand vaccine eligibility to include everyone 16 and older on April 19.  
  • Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) announced on March 16 that everyone 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 1.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced that residents 16 and older with medical conditions or disabilities will become eligible for a coronavirus vaccine on March 22. All residents 16 and older will become eligible on April 5.
  • Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) announced on March 18 that all adults will become eligible for vaccination on April 9.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said on March 16 that all residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a vaccine on March 29.

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Twitter turns 15 on Sunday—follow us!

Social media site Twitter turns 15 years old on Sunday. Co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet on March 21, 2006—”just setting up my twttr.” Today, Twitter has 192 million daily active users.

Ballotpedia became one of those users in June 2009, and we sent our very first tweet on June 17, 2009.

True to form, we also tweeted a news update about ballot measure petition signature laws in Oregon that day.

Today, we still tweet news updates. But our feed has expanded to include analysis, live election results, and special features—such as this week’s feature on #SunshineWeek, highlighting open records laws. We’ve also held the occasional Twitter chat to inform our followers and answer reader questions about a particular topic. You can read our previous Twitter chats here.

If you haven’t already, we’d love for you to join our growing list of followers. Click the link below to visit our feed and follow us on Twitter.

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Previewing the first special elections of the 117th Congress

The first special elections of the 117th Congress take place in Louisiana tomorrow (Saturday, March 20). Two of Louisiana’s six House seats have been vacant since January.  President Joe Biden (D) appointed previous 2nd District incumbent Cedric Richmond (D) to serve as a senior adviser to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Luke Letlow (R) died in December after winning the 5th District election and before being sworn into office.

In Louisiana, all candidates run in the same primary. If no candidate wins outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote recipients advance to a general election. If necessary, special general elections will be held on April 24. 

2nd District race highlights

  • Fifteen candidates—eight Democrats, four Republicans, two Independents, and one Libertarian—are running. 
  • Media attention has largely focused on Democrats Troy Carter, Karen Peterson, and Gary Chambers. Here are some endorsements:
    • Richmond endorsed Carter.
    • Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, endorsed Peterson.
    • 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson endorsed Chambers.
  • Richmond had represented the 2nd District since 2011 and won re-election in 2020 with 64% of the vote against five other candidates. 

5th District race highlights

  • Twelve candidates are running in the special election—nine Republicans, one Democrat, and two independents. 
  • Candy Christophe (D) and Julia Letlow (R), Luke Letlow’s widow, have received the most media attention.
  • Luke Letlow won this seat in a December runoff against Republican Lance Harris, 62% to 38%. Letlow received 33.1% of the vote in the November primary. Harris received 16.6%. Christophe was third with 16.4%.
  • Republicans have represented Louisiana’s 5th since 2004, when Rep. Rodney Alexander changed his affiliation from Democratic to Republican.

Three other special elections so far are scheduled for the 117th Congress: Texas’ 6th District on May 1, New Mexico’s 1st District on June 1, and Ohio’s 11th District primary on Aug. 3.

In addition to voting in the special election tomorrow, some Louisiana voters will also decide special elections for a seat on the state board of elementary and secondary education, a circuit court of appeal judgeship, and a seat in the Louisiana state House of Representatives.
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